Parts of the Chesapeake Bay watershed contain a high percentage of impervious cover – paved or other hard surfaces such as roofs and roadways that prevent rain water from being absorbed into the ground. Instead, water runs along these surfaces, collecting trash and substances such as motor oil, lawn fertilizers, and pesticides. This polluted stormwater flows into streams and rivers, where it threatens aquatic ecosystems and public health.
Effective stormwater management, on the other hand, creates safe paths for polluted runoff to be captured and filtered through the ground before it reaches waterways. This helps keep the environment clean and our communities healthy!
Project Location: Richmond, VA
Problem: The Second Baptist Church wanted to reduce their stormwater utility fee. In addition, the church wanted to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to its congregants and the community to improve their health outcomes.
Solution: A 10,000 gallon cistern was installed to capture stormwater and eighteen impervious parking spaces were removed to accommodate a one-acre community garden. A rain garden planted with native vegetation allowed the congregation to better manage stormwater and reduce their stormwater utility fee by 20 percent. A vegetable garden is used to engage and educate local youth and community members on gardening and healthy eating.
Community engagement: After the project was installed, the congregation held a three-week workshop on “feeding the mind, body and spirit.” Community members who attended the Saturday workshop received a free 4’ by 8’ raised bed that was built and delivered to their homes. Gardening programs for the Latino community are also held at the site. Youth from nearby schools and the juvenile justice system volunteer at the garden to receive community service and civic engagement hours.
Project type: Bioretention
Scale: 10,000- gallon cistern and one-acre community vegetable and rain garden
Funding Sources: Chesapeake Bay Foundation