Stormwater is a pervasive issue in the Puget Sound. With consistent rainfall and steep hills, rain falling on our roofs finds it’s way over non-permeable surfaces to our beloved Salish Sea. A positive growing trend in the area is using home-grown tactics to mitigate the effects of stormwater runoff. Tasks as simple as installing residential rain gardens help keep the runoff in one location versus running through contaminated streets to the Puget Sound. Recently, a rain garden workshop was held at Surfrider’s Washington Field Manager Brice Boland’s home in Tacoma with several members of the South Sound chapter on hand. This workshop was based upon the Surfrider Ocean Friendly Gardens (OFG) program. All Surfrider programs work towards healthy water for recreation & healthy marine ecosystems. Also, similar to other programs, OFG is focused on making a difference in your own backyard, this time literally. The concept is simple in practice and with a few knowledgable people around, a chapter can really grow and learn the program through hands-on efforts. Surfrider’s principles of conservation, permeability ,and retention, (CPR), is the foundation for OFG and a healthy landscape that limits stormwater runoff. We recommend checking out the OFG site and seeing how you can get involved with the program and bringing it to your chapter. For more information, you can contact OFG Program Manager Paul Herzog.

Our pal and former WA Marine Spatial Planning contractor Barbie Clabots scored a free rain garden consultation from her submission in an instagram urban runoff contest. Being the awesome gal she is, Barbie passed along the opportunity for Brice to host a rain garden workshop in Tacoma led by Aaron Clark of Stewardship Partners. Aaron is the lead on the 12,000 rain gardens campaign and brings a high level of expertise to the issue and to the recent workshop in Tacoma. At the event, Aaron walked our members through the principals of rain garden installation using Brice’s house as an example. In true Tacoma style, Aaron was greeted with pints on hand, tattoos, beanies, scholars, attorneys and patriotism showing the diversity of those interested in this issue.
Rain Garden Consultation South Sound

The house was constructed in 1907 which Aaron quickly picked up on and with wrap around gutters that were actually in pretty good shape for preventing runoff. One area of concern was the downspout that went into a shared driveway directing water into the street. Aaron recommend a chapter work party, utilizing an offer from a local expert volunteer for a design, and $100 dollars in food and drinks for the day to install a more bowl shaped foundation with native plants to the parcel below to absorb the water from the runoff. As a result, the plan is for Brice to host the South Sound chapter and any other interested parties in actually installing the garden in the early fall.

Brice Parcel

Would you like to get involved in this project and learn more about rain gardens and OFG? If so, contact Brice or the local South Sound Chapter. It promises to be a fun step for the chapter in growing a program in the Tacoma area. For more information on the 12,000 Rain Gardens campaign please contact Aaron Clark. Lastly, big thanks again to Aaron for spending the day with the chapter and sharing his knowledge.