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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Feb 26

Keep Pollution Out of the Drain With Infiltration

Posted on February 26, 2016 at 7:55 AM by Allan Warren

WQ - Infiltration - Scott in holeScott Gruber isn’t the Vice Chairman of our Board of Supervisors simply because he wants to keep an eye on what we’re doing. He’s on our board because our mission and values align perfectly with his own. As the owner/operator of Calendula Farms, Nursery, & Landscaping, Scott gets his hands dirty on a daily basis doing the work that matters so much to the Pierce Conservation District and our constituents. From hosting and conducting farm workshops, to helping with our Depave program, to sitting in on hours long board meetings after putting in 14 hour days, Scott shows tremendous support for all of us at the District.

One of his latest projects extends our work to help control stormwater and the pollution it carries into Puget Sound. Working with Tacoma homeowners, Jay and Anne Merrill, Scott recently finished a landscaping project that not only beautified the Merrill’s yard, but managed to infiltrate all of the rainwater coming off of their roof directly into the ground, keeping it out of the stormwater system.

What’s so important about that you might ask? Well, the footprint of the Merrill’s home is approximately 1,600sqft, which around here means about 38,400 gallons of stormwater every year! By directing all of the rainwater from their roof into dry wells buried beneath their lawn, the Merrill’s have kept the equivalent of nearly two and half typical backyard swimming pools out of the stormwater system and Puget Sound annually. That’s not only a lot of stormwater, that’s a lot of pollution.

Click on the image to learn more about our Rain Garden Cost Share Program.
Rain Garden Cost Share Snippet
There are lots of ways that homeowners can help reduce stormwater pollution from entering Puget Sound, from the easy efforts of picking up your dog doo and not overdoing it with lawn fertilizers, to the more complex landscaping efforts highlighted by the Merrill’s project. For infiltration specifically, there are also lots of options: from Do-It-Yourself projects, to having a contractor install dry wells, to beautifying your yard with a Rain Garden.

DIY TipsDid you know that the District has a Rain Garden Cost Share Program? The District and the WSU Extension Master Gardner Program work with homeowners each year to design and install rain gardens on their property. Assistance from this program includes: The Merrill’s project actually began as a DIY project, with Jay digging a hole in the back yard and filling it with 1 ½ inch drain rock and connecting one of the downspouts to it. Later on, they decided to do a full redo of their front and side yards and while the yard was already torn up, Scott suggested putting in three more drywells to service the whole house. This didn’t add much cost to the project, kept their yard space intact, and turned their home into part of the environmental solution, not one of the problems.

A Rain Garden serves the same purpose, but can be used to create more beautiful landscaping if keeping your lawn space isn’t interest. Another fun aspect of adding a Rain Garden is that you can plant it with beautiful native plants, (perhaps even purchased from our upcoming Annual Native Plant Sale), or even edible plants such as blueberries, red currants, or elderberries. There are so many ways you can go about it and the best part is that District staff are here to help!


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