Last Friday, Kane County staff were able to test out their green thumbs as they helped plant a new rain garden at the Kane County Government Center in Geneva. The volunteer event brought 15 employees outside on their lunch breaks to give 370 plants a new home on the Government Center campus.
The rain garden project began last fall when the Kane County Division of Environmental & Water Resources staff needed to address drainage issues behind the Building A.
For Water Resources Engineer Rob Linke, the drainage challenge was simply a chance for the Sustain Kane initiative to practice what it preaches.
“The drainage problems needed to be solved to prevent additional water from getting inside the building,” he said, “and we saw the opportunity to use green infrastructure in the solution.”
A rain garden is a shallow depression that is planted with deep-rooted native plants and grasses in order to absorb rainwater and filter out pollutants. The Government Center Rain Garden includes 16 species of native wildflowers and grasses — such as Purple Coneflower, Butterfly Weed and Cardinal Flower — that will also benefit birds, butterflies and other insects.
The installation of a green infrastructure practice like this rain garden helps fulfill multiple goals for Kane County government, Resource Management Coordinator Cecilia Govrik said.
“This project supports goals from the 2012 Kane County Operational Sustainability Plan, the Kane County 2040 Green Infrastructure Plan that was adopted in 2013, and can be used as an educational tool under the Clean Water for Kane campaign for public education on stormwater management and water conservation,” Govrik said.
Although the planting day was coordinated by staff from the Division of Environmental & Water Resources, the volunteer event was a great opportunity for the division to meet up with employees from other county departments — including Information Technology, Development & Community Services, and the Auditor’s Office — to work together to beautify the government campus, while also improving water quality and habitat for local wildlife.
For additional resources on rain gardens, please visit www.raingardens.org or www.raingardennetwork.com. To learn more about how to use native plants on your own property, check out www.theconservationfoundation.org.
SOURCE: Kane County Division of Environmental & Water Resources press release