Conservation Corner

Welcome to our online newsletter where we will keep you updated on everything the Pierce Conservation District is working on, from our work On the Farm to Water Quality Improvement. The  Conservation Corner highlights our most interesting stories, but does not include everything. Find our other stories linked in the sidebar and below. 

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Aug 01

Bring Home Some Green! Apply For a Mini-Grant Today!

Posted on August 1, 2022 at 5:30 PM by Camila Matamala-Ost

Summer is back in the Pacific Northwest, and the last thing most folks want to do on a hot summer day is mow the lawn. Instead, we look for relief from the heat in shady trees and pavement-free green spaces. And watering your garden during the summer can be expensive! Many of us search for ways to water our vegetables without racking up a huge water bill. 

PCD is here to help transform your property into a green oasis!

For a second year, we are pleased to offer Green Stormwater mini-grants. These grants pay for projects that remove lawns and pavement, capture rainwater, and bring native plants into urban spaces. Not only will these projects make your yard more beautiful and easier to care for in the summer, but they also reduce pollution during the rainy season.

2021 mini-grant recipients depaving outside their apartment to make way for pollinator plants.
Current mini-grant recipients depaving an area  outside their apartment building to make way for pollinator plants.

With all the development in our region, most rainwater is no longer soaked up and cleaned by deep-rooted trees and native plants. Instead, water flows over our buildings, roads, and lawns.  As it moves it picks up all the pollution on those surfaces: oil, pesticides, pet waste, and more. This toxic soup flows down storm drains and eventually reaches the Puget Sound. There it destroys habitat and makes both people and animals sick. Scientists estimate that up to 75% of all toxins in Puget Sound come from polluted stormwater runoff.

Fortunately, more and more people across Pierce County are bringing nature back into their cities to keep pollution out of local water, and PCD is here to help! Individuals, community groups, businesses, nonprofits, and others are eligible to apply for a mini-grant of up to $4,000 for one of the following:

4 separate pictures of a Raingarden, Urban Habitat Project, Depave Project, and a Rain Tank

  • Rain Gardens: Bowl shaped gardens that reduce pollution. They capture, absorb, and clean stormwater runoff. They are a great way to replace part of your lawn with native plants.
  • Urban Habitat Projects: Projects that replace turf lawns with pollinator-friendly and native plants. These plants soak up more rainwater than lawns, provide food for pollinators, and demand less labor from you over the summer.
  • Depave Projects: These projects remove unwanted pavement and replace it with plants. You can get rid of pavement along the street, in your yard, or at a local community space!
  • Rain Tanks: Large containers (at least 400 gallons) that capture roof runoff for later use. These tanks keep runoff from stormwater drains and supply extra water for gardens over the dry summer months.

Because polluted stormwater runoff comes from all our homes, neighborhoods, and communities, individual actions can add up to make a big difference in improving our water quality, protecting public health, and saving wildlife. 

If you’re ready to do your part to protect our water and transform your urban community, apply for a Green Stormwater Mini-Grant today!

How to get started?

Request a site visit from our staff. You can also learn more about mini-grants, project requirements, and program priorities, at our website.

The Oasis of Hope uses their mini-grant to remove invasive blackberries and create a rain garden.
The Oasis of Hope, in Tacoma’s Hilltop Neighborhood, is using their mini-grant to remove invasive blackberries from their bioswale and transform it into a pollinator-friendly rain garden that captures and treats runoff from their parking lot.

Who is Eligible?

Projects must be located in one of three watersheds: Commencement Bay, Chambers Creek, and Lower Puyallup River WatershedsEligible watersheds for mini grant: Commencement Bay, Chambers Creek, and Lower Puyallaup.


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