University Park Rain Gardens To Grow


This coming spring and summer dozens of new gardens will begin growing in the University Park area of Los Angeles, but residents won’t be harvesting cucumbers, carrots and tomatoes from the soil in these gardens. Instead, these new gardens will be harvesting an even more precious resource during this time of unprecedented drought – rainwater.

In early 2015 the University Park Neighborhood Rain Gardens Project will break ground, creating 35 rain gardens in and around the University Park neighborhood, which is adjacent to the University of Southern California. These rain gardens will capture the stormwater runoff from approximately 184 acres of land – simultaneously improving water quality and replenishing groundwater supplies.

So what exactly is a rain garden? A rain garden is simply a planter or depression in the land (often referred to as a vegetated swale) that captures rainfall and allows the rainwater to seep into the ground slowly instead of running off onto the streets, into storm drains and ultimately flowing into Santa Monica or San Pedro Bay.

11th.Hope.Rain.Garden.thegoodstreet.comThe University Park Neighborhood Rain Gardens Project will install rain garden planters – the typical garden will be 4’ wide, 50’ long and 3’ deep – surrounded by a curb. Each of the rain gardens will have a void ratio of 0.40, which just means that the soil will be porous enough to allow rainwater to seep into the ground. Thirty-five rain gardens with the potential to capture a total volume of 62,000 gallons will be installed. Each rain garden planter will include an inlet that will direct rainwater from the street into the planter and an outlet, that will allow excess water to flow out. Good examples of where these innovative rain gardens are already being used in Los Angeles include Elmer Avenue, Riverdale Avenue, Glen Oaks Blvd. at Sunland Ave., and 11th Street at Hope Street, which is pictured above.

If you’d like to learn more about this project, please plan on attending one of two community meetings planned:

Wednesday, January 14, 2015; 6:30 p.m.

Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Library, 3900 S. Western Avenue

Thursday, January 29, 2015; 6:30 p.m.

Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Library, 3900 S. Western Avenue

A tour of the parkway rain garden located at Hope and 11th Streets to better understand how a rain garden works, the plants that are to be used and how it looks is planned at 1 p.m. on Saturday, February 21, 2015. Please meet at Hoover Recreation Center, 1010 W. 25th Street. Transportation to the 11th and Hope Street location will be provided.

LA Sanitation anticipates that this project will take approximately two years to complete. Each rain garden will cost $10,000 with the entire project costing $600,000 ($510,000 grant-funding and $90,000 City of Los Angeles match). Support for this project comes from the following: Council District 8, LA Sanitation, California Water Boards, Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission, LA Conservation Corps, TreePeople and the University of Southern California.

Funding for this project has been provided in part through the Proposition 84 Stormwater Grant Program of the State Water Resources Control Board. The contents of this document do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the State Water Resources Control Board, nor does mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.

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