Collecting Rain Water and Creating Beneficial Habitat at Goddard Park.

The Goddard Park rain gardens tell a story of a community coming together to promote water quality, enhance park aesthetics, and create better habitat for local pollinators and other native fauna. This is just one of many stories that illustrates a project beneficial to both local residents and the water quality of the White Clay Creek.

Rain gardens capture and hold storm water, enabling soil and plants to trap, absorb and filter out pollutants, while recharging groundwater supplies. Fertilizers, oil, grease, pesticides, sediment, bacteria, and a water borne parasite called Cryptosporidium are pollutants rain gardens help keep out of waterways. Rainwater that isn’t captured runs off directly to our creeks via storm drains or overland flow, carrying with it these harmful pollutants. After a certain volume builds up, excess water leaves the garden via a small outlet set at a certain height, or more simply exits via overland flow. In typical rain events of less than 1”, little to no water will exit the garden.

 Volunteers planting larger rain basin at Goddard Park. (c) North Creek Nurseries

Volunteers planting larger rain basin at Goddard Park. (c) North Creek Nurseries

In May 2014, eighty volunteers planted 6,500 native plants in the Goddard Park rain gardens. Prior to the planting, the existing basins had little to no plant material. Although a rain garden without sufficient plant cover will still collect water, that water will drain more slowly with very little treatment occurring and very few habitat benefits gained. Native plants spaced closely together cover ground rapidly leaving less area open for invasive weeds. A successful planting not only enhances water infiltration and pollutant removal, it also provides food and shelter for a variety of native birds, butterflies, and other animals.

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Rain gardens are examples of low maintenance, low cost stormwater management infrastructure, but living systems need some maintenance to keep them looking good and prevent invasive plants from invading and outcompeting the native vegetation. If you are interested in being trained to care for these basins please contact London Grove Township so we can keep these gardens looking good and cleaning water for years to come!

Why not install a rain garden on your property?

  • Rain gardens filter out and reduce pollutants from entering our waters thereby protecting stream life and water supplies

  • Provide habitat benefits

  • Reduce local flooding potential and damage caused by erosion downstream

  • Create a more attractive and healthy environment for your neighborhood

  • Save money on reduced mowing costs over time

  • Conserve water  

Note: Funding for this project was awarded by Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Rain Gardens for the Bay Fun and United Water Delaware. White Clay Wild & Scenic River Program and North Creek Nurseries provided technical assistance. In kind support was provided by London Grove Township and City of Newark.