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  • 1.  Green Stormwater Infrastructure – Rain Gardens

    Posted 06-23-2017 11:24 AM
    Hi All,

    We are planning to include an activity about rain gardens in the new Sustainability module for Civil Engineering Clubs.

    There's a great deal of information about how home owners can plan and locate rain gardens. Is there any specific information about how civil engineers would locate and build them?


    Jeannine Finton Aff.M.ASCE
    Senior Manager of Pre-College Outreach


  • 2.  RE: Green Stormwater Infrastructure – Rain Gardens

    Posted 06-23-2017 11:37 AM


    I am so glad I ran across this message.

    ASCE thru EWRI are the international experts in rain gardens!

    We host THE INTERNATIONAL conference on rain gardens and green infrastructure on an approximate 18 month schedule. It is attended by landscape architects other disciplines and contains all the latest research (soil media, sizing, plants, impact on water quality, etc)

    We even have an on-line ASCE Journal, Journal of Sustainable Water in the Built Environment, that is geared toward the non-academic that includes case stories of green infrastructure and rain garden installations.

    EWRI also has several committees that deal with these issues, including the folks that built some of the first rain gardens (I believe the phrase started in Prince George's County, MD).

    Best wishes,

    Karen Kabbes P.E., D.WRE, ENV SP, F.ASCE
    Kabbes Engineering, Inc.
    Barrington IL

  • 3.  RE: Green Stormwater Infrastructure – Rain Gardens

    Posted 06-23-2017 11:53 AM

    Hi Jeannine - 

    In answer to your questions, yes there are design criteria for rain gardens for engineers to use, and these are typically provided by State or County regulatory agencies.  Many practitioners use the terms rain garden and bioretention interchangeably, but the rain garden is an outgrowth of the Bioretention BMP which came first, and I am pleased to report that this is a BMP that I created for Prince George's County, MD, in 1993. It was not a solo effort by any means, as I had to assemble an interdisciplinary team of engineers, landscape architects, soils scientists and plant biologists to put the effort together. Our goal was very modest at the outset, we were simply trying to create an environmentally friendly micro- scale BMP that could be used to provide water quality treatment on small sites, such as convenience stores. The research associated with the development of this BMP led us to develop Low Impact Development (LID) technology, which is our recommended approach to ecologically sustainable stormwater management for new development and is also being used for watershed wide restoration efforts.  From these humble beginnings, the bioretention and rain garden BMPs have now become the most widely used stormwater BMPs in the US and many other parts of the world

    I am attaching examples of current design guidance documents from Maryland, Prince George's County and the District of Columbia, although you can find this guidance in pretty much every state in the U.S.

    Please let me know if you have any questions or need additional information.

    Michael Clar P.E., D.WRE, M.ASCE
    Principal Engineer
    Ellicott City MD