Case Study: North Shore Community School Rain Garden

rain barrel

North Shore Community School
5926 Ryan Road
Duluth, MN 55804

South St.Louis County SWCD
Northshore Community School

Download a color guide to the plants used in the North Shore Community School rain garden. (966 kb pdf)

During the spring of 2005, the NSCS watershed class learned about stormwater runoff and its effects on our water.  They took a tour around the School and noticed places where there was erosion, puddles of water, and pollution from water runoff.  They decided to take action, and they came up with the idea of treating runoff from the classroom building and parking lot by building a Rain Garden.  A Rain Garden is simply planting native vegetation in a flat spot to slow down the flow of water and prevent further erosion.  The NSCS also installed a Rain Barrel to keep the Rain Garden watered during periods of low rain. 

The Rain Garden will help protect water quality by:

  • Slowing down and treating the first ½ inch of rain that comes off the parking lot
  • Preventing erosion by slowing down the water runoff
  • Showing how rain gardens and rain barrels can be fun and attractive ways to treat stormwater runoff

NSCS students each planted one flower in the garden on Friday, September 9th, 2005 and they did a great job!  The Watershed Class helpers helped to refill mulch and water buckets all afternoon too!  A big thanks goes out to those who worked all summer long to get the rain garden ready for planting, including Mike Nordin, Walt Carter, Charlene Johnson, the Hendrickson family, Phil Strom, Jessica Olson (our Rain Garden designer and engineer), and the South St Louis Soil Water Conservation District. 

Money for the garden came from a North Shore Community School endowment fund grant, South St. Louis SWCD, Natural Resources Research Institute, and from donations from private citizens Dorothy Camper and Leo Babeu.   Other supplies used for the project were provided by Western Lake Superior Sanitary District, Duluth Township, Lars and Arlene Fladmark, Jesse Schomberg, and Marshall Hardware in Lakeside.