The Prairie Rain Garden is a student run project located near the botanic gardens on the north-east corner of campus. The students involved are trying to improve the ecosystem of a small plot of land by removing invasive species, improving the topography and planting a healthy native plant garden. The garden’s location is just uphill of a trail which is frequently flooded during the rainy season and becomes extremely muddy and impassable. The Prairie Garden is designed to capture some of the rainfall, filter the water and drain it to prevent runoff flowing onto the path.
The project will focus on several areas of environmental impact. The water flowing through the Prairie Garden will mostly be runoff from a parking lot located above the area. By creating a better drainage system and planting native plants along the storm water’s path; the garden will help filter out some of the toxins flowing off the parking lot through sediment capture, pollution degradation and nutrient uptake. Through the garden’s topographical landscaping, which mimics Washington states prairies, storm water will be reduced by absorption and evaporation. This will not only protect the walking path located below the garden, but also the native plants in the area from flood damage. The reintroduction of native species follows the nearby Union Bay Natural Area’s current objective and moves the project into greater levels of restoration.
The money awarded by the CSF will largely go to purchasing native plants to place in the garden. In addition the students will use funding to purchase topsoil, pots, drain rock and tools to build the garden. The hope of the students working on the garden is that others will see their low-resource venture and be inspired to begin a project of their own.