A 7th rain garden for New Haven’s West River watershed


October 25, 2018

Save the Sound, Neighborhood Housing Services, and over 50 volunteers install 7th residential rain garden in West River Watershed

Ongoing green infrastructure collaboration teaches residents to manage stormwater at home

New Haven, Conn. – Two New Haven nonprofits teamed up with local college students this week to plant a seventh rain garden in New Haven’s Newhallville neighborhood, and are seeking additional area homeowners interested in having a rain garden of their own.

A diverse group of teenagers shovels dirt to start a rain gardenSave the Sound, a bi-state program of Connecticut Fund for the Environment, and Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven (NHS) are engaged in an ongoing collaboration designed to empower area homeowners in the West River Watershed to increase their environmental sustainability by managing the stormwater that flows off their roofs and driveways. On Monday and Tuesday, over 50 students from Southern Connecticut State University joined with the organizations to install a rain garden at a private home near Cherry Ann Park.

“In New Haven’s Newhallville and Beaver Hills neighborhoods, rainwater runs off roofs, roads, and driveways, carrying pollutants and contributing to combined sewer overflows to the West River,” said Anna Marshall, Green Projects Associate for Save the Sound. “Building rain gardens at home reduces the amount of stormwater runoff from roofs by diverting and capturing it in gardens to nourish native plants. The soil and plants filter the rainwater as it’s slowly absorbed into the ground. Homeowners get a beautified property, and we all get a healthy river and Long Island Sound.”

After excavating the rain garden, volunteers backfill the area with a mix of New Haven’s naturally sandy soil that supports stormwater infiltration, and compost that provides nutrients for young plants as they establish new roots. The final step in the installation is the planting of native and water-loving perennials like Little Bluestem, Black-Eyed Susan, Purple Coneflower, and Switchgrass.

Student volunteers stand around a rain garden they just built

This fall and in the spring, Save the Sound will continue the project by installing rain gardens and disconnecting downspouts to improve water quality in the West River by reducing urban runoff and combined sewer overflows, which contribute pollutants and bacteria to the river.

Interested residents of Newhallville and Beaver Hills neighborhoods are encouraged to contact Save the Sound staff at reducerunoff@savethesound.org for a rain garden eligibility assessment.

This project is funded in part through a United States Environmental Protection Agency Clean Water Act Section 319 grant administered by Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.


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