Our Low Impact Development Program
Read about our Rainscape Retrofits in the Free Lance - Star
About the program.
Stormwater runoff is the leading cause of river pollution in the Rappahannock River and it is a serious problem in the Fredericksburg area. Traditional storm water management is based on getting storm water out of our roads, sidewalks, and home properties as fast as possible, but this technique skips the purification and dispersion process that should be part of the natural cycle. Due to urban development, construction, agriculture, and compacted grass lawns at home, there are not enough permeable surfaces to catch, soak in, and spread out storm water. Stormwater runoff today carries excess phosphorous, sediment, bacteria and other pathogens, debris, and household hazardous wastes like insecticides, pesticides, paint, solvents, used motor oil, and other auto fluids into our river. Stormwater runoff also carries excess nitrogen (a nutrient commonly found in fertilizers), air particles, and car exhaust that will cause algae to overpopulate. When algae decompose, oxygen is sucked out of the water creating dead zones or “dead water” where nothing can live. The volume of dead water in the Rappahannock is seven times the amount of dead water in all the other Virginia rivers combined.
We can help combat this by implementing Low Impact Development retrofits at home, or "Rainscape Retrofits." While agriculture is the leading contributor to excess nutrient waste, residential sources make up a majority of urban/suburban nutrient load and other pollutant load contributors. Retrofits can be rain gardens, downspout disconnection, soil amendments, soil aeration, deep soil decompaction, and rain barrels. Rainscape Retrofits are not only better for the environment, but they are better for a yard. Catching all that rain water will keep yards and home gardens healthy and beautiful.
Friends of the Rappahannock are providing a rainscape retrofit building tool kit to residents in the Fredericksburg and surrounding county areas so residents can have Low Impact Developments installed with ease on their home property. While many people express great enthusiasm for building a rain garden, once they sit down to plan one, they are often intimidated by the process. Our kit breaks down these barriers and provides homeowners an easy, cost effective way to install rain gardens, rain barrels, and other retrofits on their property. We come and build rain gardens for you!
What is a "Rainscape Retrofit?"
It is..... We offer assistance for different types of Retrofits for your home: rain gardens, downspout disconnection, soil amendment, soil aeration, deep soil decompaction, and rain barrels/cisterns.
A rain garden is an attractive native plant growth, a garden of sorts, with a special purpose: to reduce the amount of polluted storm water that rushes into our streams and rivers and to filter storm water before returning it to groundwater.
PDF: Rain Garden, A Northern Virginia Homeowner's Guide
Citation: Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District
You can disconnect your downspouts from existing standpipes and let it flow over landscaped areas or lawns. Disconnection can be a low-maintenance option to help move water away from building foundations and allow it to soak into the ground, reducing runoff. Disconnecting includes cutting the downspout; attaching elbows, extensions, and splashblocks to direct the water to flow away from the house; plugging the standpipe; and securing the materials to existing structures.
PDF: Downspout Disconnection
Citation: James River Association
Soil restoration is an Environmental Site Design (ESD) practice applied after construction, to deeply till compacted soils and restore their porosity by amending them with compost. These soil amendments can reduce the generation of runoff from compacted urban lawns and may also be used to enhance the runoff reduction performance of downspout disconnections, grass channels, and filter strips.
PDF: Soil Amendment
Citation: Virginia DCR
Lawn aeration involves the removal of small soil plugs or cores out of the lawn with a machine. Known as a core aerator, it extracts 1/2 to 3/4 inch diameter cores of soil and deposits them on your lawn. Other types of aerators push solid spikes or tines into the soil without removing a plug (spiking). These are not as effective because they can contribute to compaction. Core aeration is a recommended lawn care practice on compacted, heavily used turf and to control thatch buildup. It allows your compacted soil to breathe and enhance infiltration of rainfall.
Citation: Virginia Cooperative Extension
Deep Soil Decompaction
Over time, lawns become extremely compacted and impervious. Decompacting the soil in your lawn will increase permeability, thus catching and soaking in more run off when it rains. This can be a big project.
PDF: Deep Decompaction
Citation: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
The use of rain barrels is an inexpensive way to decrease storm water runoff, conserve water for garden and lawn use, and save money on your water bill. The barrels are placed under gutter downspouts or where roof lines end and water runs off. A single rain barrel can save about 1,300 gallons of water during peak summer months.
PDF: Rainbarrels and Cisterns
Citation: James City County VA
Check out other ways to get invloved!
We sell Rain Barrels at FOR! And did you know that skipping the fertilizer till fall is better for the river AND for your lawn?