Meet your Chicagoland Stormwater Storage Requirements with a rain garden!

What Does 25,000 Gallons of Green Infrastructure Look Like?

North Barrington rain garden filled with water green infrastructure It’s been a pretty momentous week for Green Infrastructure here in Chicagoland.

First, Cook County passed their much anticipated Watershed Management Ordinance in an effort to prevent increased flooding through the use of Green Infrastructure.

Second, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced $50 Million in funding for Green Infrastructure in the city over the next 5 years.

With all this talk of Green Infrastructure, I thought it might be helpful to put a face on this abstract concept with an example of Green Infrastructure that I installed earlier this year which captures 25,000 gallons of stormwater annually.

rain garden green infrastructure before and after

About

This project was installed in North Barrington right along the Flint Creek as part of the Flint Creek Watershed Partnership’s “Half Million Gallons Project”. The rain garden is sized to hold a little over a 1″ rainfall coming off of the 1225 Sq.Ft. roof which translates into over 25,000 gallons per year captured in the landscape and slowly released into the creek below.

rain garden green infrastructure roof runoff flint creek

rain garden green infrastructure excavated

rain garden planted mulch green infrastructure

rain garden green infrastructure installed

rain garden green infrastructure installed gravel swale

First Big Rainfall

rain garden green infrastructure full of rain water

rain garden green infrastructure full of rain water swale

Native Soils

rain garden green infrastructure soil probe

rain garden green infrastructure soil sample

Infiltration Rate

rain garden infiltration rate green infrastructure

Native Plant Growth

rain garden plugs green infrastructure

rain garden ecological benefits green infrastructure

Grey + Green Infrastructure = The Answer

rain garden green infrastructure flint creek

rain garden green infrastructure view of flint creek

rain garden green infrastructure flint creek upstream damage

rain garden green infrastructure flint creek downstream damage

This example of Green Infrastructure is only a drop in the bucket compared to the volume of water that caused this damage to the Grey Infrastructure along the creek. It is the absence of stormwater retaining landscapes on the whole along the creek that caused this issue.

We can not build Grey Stormwater Systems for the largest storm ever possible; that would be too expensive and obtrusive. With the addition of Green Infrstructure at the sources of the stormwater runoff, we can improve the efficiency, function, and life-span of our existing Grey Infrastructure while creating beautiful landscapes that benefit our local ecology.

Watch our 10 hour installation in 3 minutes below.

Here’s a video of the water moving through the garden.



Answers to Last Week’s Quiz

I need to give some credit to Roy Diblik who I got this idea from. He showed us a picture of homes across the Midwest that looked the same at a presentation a few years back. I thought maybe with the help of Google Earth I might be able to expand it to the whole United States.

green infrastructure native plants
1. Albuquerque, New Mexico
2. Anchorage, Alaska
3. Fox River Grove, Illinois
4. Honolulu, Hawaii

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