Water Quality Improvement

Read the latest from the Water Quality Improvement team.

Oct 06

PCD Rain Garden Illustrated by Graham French

Posted on October 6, 2023 at 9:47 AM by Gracie DeMeo

What is a rain garden? A rain garden is the world's prettiest sponge. Scenic native plants in a low shallow divot of earth create areas where rainwater can pool and pollutants can be filtered out before they reach groundwater. You've probably seen one in your neighborhood, or perhaps at the demonstration garden just outside of Pierce Conservation District's Office.

Water Specialist AmeriCorps Member Graham French took appreciation of rain gardens to a whole new level and illustrated the PCD rain garden. 

A painting that depicts a stylized version of Pierce Conservation District's rain gardenIllustration of the PCD Rain Garden

Graham also provided an educational explanation for their illustration: 

As rain hits impervious surfaces and becomes stormwater runoff, it gathers a variety of non-point source pollutants as it travels into storm drains and directly into the Puget Sound. A rain garden is a shallow depression in the ground that is landscaped to collect, absorb, and filter stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces such as rooftops, driveways, patios, and any other surfaces that don’t allow water to soak into the soil. 

When stormwater runoff enters a rain garden, it pools in the shallow depression in the landscape creating a wet environment where plants such as Spreading Rush (Juncus patens) and Douglas Iris (Iris douglasiana) thrive and filter water into the soil. Towards the edges of rain gardens, plants such as Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea) and Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium) do well as they also help water filter into the soil. 

The plants in a rain garden not only filter and absorb the stormwater runoff, they also create beautiful pollinator habitat which help support local ecosystems and elevate the aesthetics of the urban and residential areas they are planted in.

Graham's rain garden illustration labeled

Labeled Illustration of the PCD Rain Garden

Pierce Conservation District has funding available for rain garden installations through our green stormwater mini-grant program. Only a few months left to apply! If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us. Thank you again to Graham French for this beautiful illustration!

Aug 28

MACROINVERTEBRATE MONITORING & STREAM TEAM

Posted on August 28, 2023 at 11:46 AM by Gracie DeMeo

The Stream Team program is closed and no longer accepting volunteers.

Macro - Hacketts Pictured here are Dave and Cindy Hackett sampling for macroinvertebrates in Huge Creek


 Macroinvertebrate Monitoring


We will be partnering again with Pierce County Surface Water Management to sample creeks for macroinvertebrates. A simple sampling of aquatic macroinvertebrates can tell us a lot about stream health. This is a great opportunity to participate in field research and get outside during the summer!

If you are interested in participating, please contact Belinda at belindap@piercecd.org. COVID protocols will be followed.


Stream Team


Stream Team is a volunteer water quality monitoring program operating in Pierce County since 1994. Monitors measure pH, dissolved oxygen, nitrates, turbidity, water temperature, flow and record habitat observations on prioritized sites. 

Goals include:

  • Watershed education
  • Involve the public in community science monitoring
  • Increase available water quality data
  • Identify areas of concern


If you would like to be put on a waiting listing for a training, please contact Belinda at belindap@piercecd.org


Aug 28

Get Involved with Stream Monitoring and Sampling!

Posted on August 28, 2023 at 11:45 AM by Gracie DeMeo

WQ Training photo

Looking for an opportunity to engage in your local watershed? What to participate in citizen science? Or simply want to spend time outdoors? Volunteer stream monitoring might be for you!

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