March 29, 2010

Root-Pike WIN to offer rain garden workshops and grants April 10 at Gateway

The Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network announced today that its 2010 Rain Garden Initiative will offer free rain garden workshops this spring in Racine, Kenosha and Franklin and funding for at least 20 rain garden grants.

According to Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, one rain garden on a quarter-acre lot can reduce annual runoff by 25 percent. Workshop participants will learn how to keep storm water runoff from polluting streams, rivers and lakes by learning how to build and maintain a rain garden. Each class will focus on the causes of polluted stormwater runoff and the role of rain gardens to capture and infiltrate rainwater before it runs off to driveways, parking lots and streets, where it picks up pollutants and carries them untreated to storm sewers and our waters.

Instructors from UW-Extension and Root-Pike WIN will teach the technical standard for a building rain garden that was developed by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource. Participants will learn how to select a site, determine its size, depth and shape, the role of native plants, and how to plant and maintain the garden. Workshops are open to the public and participants are not required to reside in the Root-Pike watershed. Pre-registration is required.

Workshop schedule

· RACINE--Saturday, April 10, 9:30-10:30 am , Gateway Technical College, Racine Building, 1001 Main Street, Racine. Enter from lakeside (rear) parking lot. In partnership with Leaderships Racine’s Green Revival Fair.
· KENOSHA--Saturday, April 24, 9:30-10:30 am, Gateway Technical College, 3520-30th Avenue, Kenosha. In partnership with Gateway’s Celebrate Earth Day Fair.
· FRANKLIN—Saturday, June 5, 10:00 am-2:00, Hands-on workshop (workshop followed by a garden installation), Franklin Public Library, 9151 W. Loomis Road, Franklin. In partnership with City of Franklin Environmental Commission.

Rain Garden Grants

In addition to the workshops, the Rain Garden Initiative will award at least 20 rain grants to help fund the cost of plants and mulch, thanks to contributions from the SC Johnson Fund, E.C. Styberg Foundation, Wild Ones, Wisconsin Energy Foundation and individual donors. Grants will fund 100 percent of the cost of native plants for a Demonstration Rain Garden that is open to the public, and 50 percent for private homeowner gardens, both up to 300 square feet. Grant recipients will also receive free mulch.

The grant application can be printed from the website: and click on Rain Garden Initiative logo or a copy can be obtained by calling 262-898-2055 or emailing:

To be eligible for a rain garden grant, applicants must meet the following requirements: 1) reside in the Root-Pike watershed. However, a small amount of funding is available to fund gardens in the Des Plaines and S.E. Fox watersheds. 2) Attend a free workshop where they will learn how to build a rain garden, 3) Have their garden site and excavation pre-approved by Root-Pike WIN.

This is the third year of the program, which has funded 59 rain gardens, which together infiltrate over 500,000 gallons of rainwater and snow-ice melt annually. For more information about the program, including directions on how to build a rain garden, locations of previously funded public gardens and photos of private gardens, go to: and click on the Rain Garden Initiative logo.

The Root-Pike watershed encompasses parts of Kenosha, Racine, Milwaukee and Waukesha counties, where the organization and volunteers work to protect, restore, and sustain the ecosystems of the Root River and Pike River. Root-Pike WIN grew out of a group convened in 1998 by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to identify critical natural resource issues in the Root River and Pike River watersheds.


  1. Should we not also act to remove from City Hall folks like Brian O'Connell who see every Green Space as another location for low income housing?

    Gives a great example of what can be done. However to do this Mr. O'Connell whould have to go.

  2. That sounds like a great chance to learn more about responsible gardening, and perhaps even get a little funding to make it happen. Thanks for posting this story.