Lincoln property owners are invited to apply for a grant to help cover the cost of installing a rain garden through the City's 50-50 Cost Share Program. A rain garden is a depressed area with native vegetation designed to filter pollutants from driveways, patios, roofs and lawns.
Qualifying property owner are eligible to be reimbursed up to $1,000 each for their rain garden expenses. Reimbursements would cover the cost of soil amendments (compost and sand), plants, drain tile, equipment rentals and work performed by an approved landscape professional.
The 50-50 Cost Share Program, funded by $50,000 from the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ), will help install 50 rain gardens within Lincoln's city limits. Applications will be accepted until the NDEQ funds are expended, or by October 31, 2012, whichever comes first.
The educational goal of the 50-50 Cost Share Program is to increase public awareness about stormwater quality and improved water quality of local waterways such as Antelope Creek.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 70 percent of all water pollution is caused by stormwater runoff. When it rains, polluted water flows into storm drains and directly into local lakes and streams. Rain gardens protect local waterways by temporarily holding stormwater runoff and allowing the water time to infiltrate the soil. This filters out pollutants such as dirt, fertilizer, garbage and bacteria collected from roofs and driveways.
Applications for rain garden grants are available on the City website at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: rain garden) or at the City Watershed Management office, 901 N. 6th St. For more information, contact Ellen Wright, Watershed Management, at 441-7075 or visit the City website.
A number of rain garden grants will be made available to Lincoln schools and commercial properties to educate individuals on stormwater quality issues. The project will include a public education program on the impact of stormwater runoff on lakes and streams.