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Urban Environmental Studies

Rain Gardens

Stormwater-overflow-into-lake

Rain-garden-next-to-the-lake.

One of the greatest environmental impacts of an urban area is its influence on streams. In the urban landscape, forests that soak up and slowly released rainwater into streams are replaced with parking lots, roofs, and streets. These impervious surfaces divert water into a "stormwater" channel system that quickly delivers the rainwater into a local stream. The flood of water overwhelms the streams and destroys habitat for aquatic wildlife and plants. One solution to this is the rain garden. BSC's rain gardens are located near the United Methodist Church North Alabama Conference Center. Stormwater from the Center and its parking lot flow into several depressions lined with porous soils. Here, stormwater seeps down into the groundwater below, while sediments and other pollutants carried by the stormwater remain in the garden. Excess stormwater flows into the lake in the Urban Environmental Park before joining nearby Valley Creek. Our rain gardens reduce our "stormwater footprint" in the urban landscape, and supplies nearby trees with water year-round. What's more, the rain garden is lined with eye-catching native plants chosen to attract wildlife. It's another win-win.

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Birmingham-Southern College

900 Arkadelphia Road
Birmingham, AL 35254
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