Ellsworth Rain Garden Project

Written and Photographed by Tricia Sears, Julian Lawrence, and Megan Fishpool

We have volunteered for The Nature Conservancy, doing projects on the Ellsworth Preserve, for five years. Therefore, we are very familiar with the frequency and intensity of the rain in this area. Ellsworth Preserve is a thriving and beautiful landscape - logged and reforested over many years. There is a small building on a hill at the elevation of 800 ft. that receives over 100 inches of rain per year. The large amounts of rain in this area can cause erosion. To help alleviate erosion problems, we wanted to provide a better method for water to infiltrate into the soil. Being familiar with rain gardens, we were inspired to construct a rain garden by the small building.

Over the course of four days in October and November 2015, we dug the 15 ft. x 6 ft. rain garden out. We then installed small and large well rooted plants so the rain garden would be immediately functional. The plants, known as the common rush or Juncus effusus, were transplanted into the rain garden from an area adjacent to the small building. We also planted one sitka spruce, Picea sitchensis, in the rain garden. The small building has a water tank and its overflow is now directed to the rain garden using old gutters stabilized by strong support branches and cairn style rocks. Since we constructed the rain garden in heavy rain, the immediate effectiveness of the rain garden was clearly demonstrated as it quickly handled large amounts of water!

Learn more about our work on the coast