University of Findlay has obtained a significant grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to build a raingarden which would help to prevent stormwater runoff.
An ongoing partnership between UF and Blanchard River Watershed Partnership (BRWP) has led to this collaborative project. Students, faculty, and staff of Findlay’s Department of Biology and the Physical Plant worked alongside Lauren Sandhu, watershed coordinator for BRWP, to secure a grant from the Ohio EPA and bring the project to life.
“The goal of the project is to improve water quality in Howard Run, which is the creek that runs through campus and eventually flows to the Blanchard River,” stated Benjamin Dolan, Ph.D., associate professor of biology and director of natural areas and plant collections. “Raingardens are intended for two purposes: to reduce flooding and to reduce nutrient pollution by allowing plants to use excess nutrients before the water flows downstream.”
Dolan said, “the raingarden will collect runoff from the Davis Street Building parking lot. Much of the water currently flows directly into the creek, but after the project is done, water will flow into a raingarden.”
Raingardens generally appear as depressions in the landscape which include vegetation and can be surrounded by trees and other forest habitat. Dolan said this particular raingarden may include “a variety of flowering plants like purple coneflower, black-eyed Susan, cardinal flower, New England aster, and wild bergamot.”
While it may not appear to be much, this fixture will hold the tainted runoff water and prevent sediment and pollutants from reaching the nearby river.
“Our intent is that this will be the first phase of a three-phase project to restore habitat, improve water quality, and improve aesthetics of Howard Run as it flows through UF’s campus,” said Dolan. “This project targets a small section adjacent to the Sensory Gardens. The next phase will target the section between North Main St. and North Cory St. The third phase will target the rest of the section between North Cory St. and Morey St.”
In recognition of the University’s commitment to protecting the environment and hard work on this project, the BRWP presented the Physical Plant and College of Sciences with the annual Friend of the Watershed Award virtually on Thursday, Dec. 10. “Each year we present this award to an individual or organization who has been instrumental to the BRWP’s success,” said Sandhu. “The project along Howard Run would never have gone anywhere if it hadn’t been for [their] support and assistance from the beginning, so we are very grateful for that.”
Visit BRWP online for information on how you can get involved. For more information on UF’s Biology Program, visit the Biology webpage, or contact the Office of Admissions at 419-434-4732 or firstname.lastname@example.org.