Neighbors Work to
Funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is restoring a native prairie and marsh ecosystem to Chicago’s Northerly Island in Lake Michigan to provide habitat to native fish and wildlife, and an outdoor recreation space in the city for people.
Development in the City of Parma has taken a toll on the nearby West Creek, a tributary to Lake Erie. About 35 percent of the area in the watershed is surface that does not absorb water. Rainwater runs off roofs, down driveways and into the drainage pipes. There’s little organic material in lawns to soak it up. Like many cities, the City of Parma has storm drains that empty into the nearby creek. The storm water carries excess nutrients and chemicals from lawn fertilizer, and oils and grease from pavement, all of which hurts water quality in the creek. And the intense volume of the storm water that follows heavy rains scours the banks of the creek, harming habitat and exacerbating erosion downstream. Solving the problem requires the participation of individual residents who live in the city.
Resource Challenges Addressed
- Too many hard surfaces with nowhere for water to go
- Excessive water runoff
- Polluted runoff with nutrients and chemicals
Results and Accomplishments
In total, 28 homes are participating in the project, having installed either rain barrels, rain gardens, or both. Rain barrels reduce the intensity of storm water that enters the creek. The rain gardens also soak up storm water and help filter pollutants. As of 2013, 64 rain barrels have been installed along with 11 rain gardens on individual properties and 25 rain gardens have been planted adjacent to city streets. The program is expected to reduce runoff along these streets by 49 percent.
PARMA NEIGHBORHOOD STORMWATER INITIATIVE
Location: Parma, Ohio
Approximate cost: $400,000 of which $290,000 came from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
Key partners: Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Cleveland Metroparks, West Creek Conservancy, the City of Parma, and the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District.
Types of jobs created: Construction, design and landscaping, and a part-time steward at the West Creek Conservancy.