Black Mountain to host rain garden workshop

Karrigan Monk
Black Mountain News
The town of Black Mountain will host a rain garden workshop April 15 at Lake Tomahawk.

The town of Black Mountain will host a rain garden workshop April 15 in order to both increase education about how rain gardens work and to construct one at a Lake Tomahawk parking lot, according to Stormwater Technician Anne Phillip.

According to Phillip, a rain garden is a way to help mitigate the effects of stormwater.

“A rain garden is a stormwater control measure that helps slow stormwater runoff down, filter it and cool it before it discharges into our natural surface waters,” Phillip said. “What we’re doing when we urbanize a place like Black Mountain … is we’re adding a lot of impervious surface, and the water doesn’t soak in. It just runs off really quickly and takes all of these things that are problematic for the health of the river.”

The rain garden that will be constructed during the April 15 workshop was called for by the Upper Swannanoa River Watershed Management Plan.

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“That was a plan that identified actions necessary to address existing stormwater runoff problems and basically with a goal to remove the Swannanoa River from the impaired waters list,” Phillip said. “What we’re trying to do overall in the town is make sure that we’re treating the stormwater before it gets to the river.”

Prior to the workshop, a contractor will come out to prepare the site for the rain garden. The town is also partnering with nonprofit RiverLink to help lower the cost of creating the rain garden.

Phillip said the stormwater utility fee paid by town residents is making this project possible.

“It’s kind of a win-win on a lot of levels,” Phillip said. “Getting the project done itself, providing education to the public, partnering with a local nonprofit to provide materials and lower the cost in that way. Then, of course, you’ve got the result of the rain garden.”

Phillip said participants in the workshop can expect to not only learn what a rain garden is, but how to construct one. Participants will learn this skill by actually doing the work themselves under the supervision of town employees.

After the workshop, Phillip said residents will know more about rain gardens and will be able to construct one on their own property should they so choose and need one.

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Phillip said she looks forward meeting town residents and spreading as much knowledge as possible.

“What I’m most looking forward to is the opportunity to talk with people about rain gardens and demystify them a little bit,” Phillip said. “Just show the basics of it, the mechanics of it, why it’s important, how you can implement something like this on your own property.”