Nothing Like A Good Storm; Unless

This time close your eyes and imagine the beautiful sound of rain; the gentle tapping on the roof, the symphony of a thousand raindrops on the sidewalk or lawn, in the forrest trees, maybe even a little thunder and lightening. The air starts to smell like damp earth and you can feel the humidity moistening your dried skin and sinuses.

There is nothing like a good storm, especially the first storm of the season.

Untill it starts to look like this:


Small fish swimming through your backyard and runoff into nearby lakes are never a welcome sight.

5 things you need to know about stormwater

  1. Rainfall is increasing, 8 out of the 10 wettest years on record have occurred since 1978.
  2. More rain falls in the winter and spring when the ground is frozen or least likely to absorb it.
  3. A canopy created by trees slows how fast rain reaches the earth, which gives the earth time to absorb. Development and urbanization decreases the number of trees.
  4. Shrinking natural landscapes, which are better able to absorb rainwater and return it to aquifers, cause erosion of fields, yards and streambeds. Erosion contaminates lakes and rivers with fertilizers, pesticides and other pollutants.
  5. Sewar systems are overtaxed when storms strike most urban areas which also leaches pollutants in to lakes and rivers, and causes drainage backups for homes and businesses.

2 important ways you can help

  1. Manage stormwater by:
    1. Creating raingardens- a natural way of landscaping dry streambeds, depressions and areas where storm runoff flows out of gutters.

What you are looking for is more like this:


and less like this:


Raingardens use a base of gravel, sand, compost, and topsoils which is then planted with grasses, plants, shrubs and trees native to that particular area. Stones and rocks are interspersed to slow the flow of runoff.

Usefull information on creating raingardens along with a manual for the Great Lakes region can be found at:

B. Use permeable materials for driveways and walkways. Asphalt and concrete increase runoff, sewar overflow and erosion. Materials can be as simple as gravel, which absorbs rain but makes shoveling snow more difficult for those in northern climates. Porous paving materials are also available from many manufactures, sold through most home and garden stores.

  1. Harvest stormwater with:

1 inch of rain on a 2,000 square foot roof ( size of an average colonial style home) could give you 1,250 gallons of water. ( Running the sprinkler over your garden for 2 hours uses about 500 gallons)

The solutios is rain barrels:

They can be as simple as placing a shortened version of your downspout into a large garbage can and inserting a faucet with a hose at the bottom. Drill a faucet size hole, insert the faucet and then silicon glue the sides up water tight.


Gravity powered rain barrels, as well as pump powered and multiple rain barrel garden irrigation systems can also be bought at many home and garden stores as well as online.


Storm water solutions: Good for your world.



About Frances Wiedenhoeft

After a lifetime in nursing, anesthesia and the Army I now write, blog, attend school for journalism and massage, and watch my 3 grandchildren. I am a veteran of Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan and try to serve other vets such as myself, and to work for peace.
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