Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station [Water Resources Program]

Stormwater Management in Your Backyard

New Jersey is facing serious water resource problems that can only get worse as development continues at such a rapid pace throughout the State. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) has recently released new stormwater management and permitting regulations. In the past, NJDEP’s stormwater management rules only concentrated on controlling flooding from large storm events. These new rules focus not only on managing water quantity, but also on water quality and groundwater recharge. Although these new rules will significantly change the way New Jersey manages its stormwater runoff, the rules only apply to new development. This leaves the stormwater runoff impacts from existing developments only to be addressed through the new municipal stormwater permit rules and the implementation plans for the Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs). The result will more than likely be voluntary programs that may have little hope for success unless significant funding can be allocated to support public outreach and education programs centered on progressive stormwater management at the community level.

Cook College and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (Cook/NJAES) have proposed a major initiative, The Garden State Greening Initiative, to foster and promote environmental interest, concern, and advocacy in New Jersey. The Garden State Initiative will mobilize faculty and staff who already work in environmental and extension related areas at Cook/NJAES to more efficiently and effectively serve the environmental needs of New Jersey. The Garden State Greening Initiative will be managed as an “umbrella” program that will be the uniting force of a number of envisioned programmatic modules or projects that will tackle important specific issues, including but not limited to, training development and delivery of public awareness programs, volunteer recruitment, management and motivation, applied research and demonstrations related to the program, program promotion, and overall impact evaluation. Stormwater Management in Your Backyard is one of the first programmatic modules to be implemented under The Garden State Greening Initiative.

The Stormwater Management in Your Backyard program reaches a wide range of audiences in New Jersey. Please select the target audience below to learn about the exciting programs offered.

Master Gardeners and Environmental Stewards Homeowners Landscape Professionals Small Animal Farmers
Local Govermental Agencies Developers
K-12 Schools Scouting Organizations


Stormwater Management in Your Backyard is a collaborative initiative between
RutgersCooperative Extension Water Resources Program, the New Jersey Sea Grant ExtensionProgram, and the USDA CSREES Regional Water Coordination Program for the Northeast States and Caribbean Islands.

 

Resource: Introduction and History of Stormwater Management inYour Backyard


Master Gardeners and Environmental Stewards

Some Master Gardener and Environmental Steward classes are brought into the
Stormwater Management in Your
Backyard program with the intentions to become inspired to take their new found knowledge and to educate their communities, following the model below.

mgmodel


In-Class Lecture

Master Gardener and Environmental Steward classes are taught the"nuts and bolts"
of stormwater management through a three part in-class lecture series by Rutgers Cooperative Extension faculty and staf. The lecture series consists of the following lessons:

Lesson 1: Stormwater 101
Lesson 2: Rain Garden Site Selection and Installation
Lesson 3: Rain Garden Maintenance

Hands-on Training

The lecture series is typically followed by a hands-on demonstration, where the Master Gardener and Environmental Steward classes apply their newly learned skills to install a demonstration rain garden.

Train-the-Trainer

The Master Gardeners and Environmental Stewards that attended the lecture series and the hands-on training are invited to attend a "Train-the-Trainer" program, where they are provided with the materials needed to conduct stormwater management community outreach programs in their communities.

Community Outreach

The Master Gardeners and Environmental Stewards that attended the "Train-the- Trainer" program are encouraged to apply their stormwater management skills by assisting with community outreach. Examples include maintaining demonstration rain gardens, installing new demonstration rain gardens, and educating children and adults about stormwater management.

Resources

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Homeowners

Through the Stormwater Management in Your Backyard program, homeowners have an opportunity to learn how to install stormwater management techniques on their property, such as rain gardens and rain barrels.

Rain Gardens

Rain gardens are specifically designed to manage stormwater runoff, mainly from rooftops, but also from driveways, lawns, roads, and parking lots. Rain gardens look like regular perennial gardens, but they are much more. During a storm, a rain garden fills with water, and the water slowly filters into the ground rather than running into storm sewers. Compared to a patch of lawn, a rain garden allows about 30% more water to soak into the ground. Therefore, by capturing stormwater, rain gardens help to reduce nonpoint source pollution (i.e., road sediment/salt, fertilizers, pesticides, bacteria from pet waste, eroded soil, grass clippings, litter, etc.) and help to protect local waterways. Rain gardens also add beauty to neighborhoods and provide wildlife habitat.

Over 25 demonstration rain gardens have been installed and are being maintained
throughout the State of New Jersey. They are collaborative projects between the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program, various Rutgers Cooperative Extension County offices, local stakeholders and volunteers.

Demonstration rain gardens are intended to serve as living examples to be visited by the general public. They are located in publicly-visible locations and are often the sites of workshops and other events that train homeowners, landscape professionals and gardeners. For detailed information on each of these rain gardens, including location, design considerations and plant layout, please visit the New Jersey Demonstration Rain Garden webpage.

Additional information about rain gardens can be found at the Rain Garden Information Center, where the goal is to give you a better understanding of rain gardens and to assist you with starting your very own rain garden project.

  • Resources for Homeowners:

PowerPoint Presentation:

Rain Gardens for Beginners

Handouts:
Cornell Soil Texture Fact Sheet
In-Class Exercises (Rooftop and Driveway)
Infiltration Test
Municipal Stormwater Regulation Program
New Jersey's Stormwater Regulations - RCE Fact Sheet
NJ One Call
Rain Garden FAQs
Rain Gardens - RCE Fact Sheet
Rain Garden Site Visit Worksheet (Pre-Installation)
Rain Garden Site Visit Worksheet (Post- Installation)
Road Rain Garden Design Sheet
Soil Testing for Home Lawns & Gardens - RCE Fact Sheet
Soil Type Test

Tips for Rain Gardens in Clay Soils
Rain Garden Video


Rain Barrels

Take an active role in recycling rainwater. Direct roof downspouts away from foundations and driveways to planting beds and lawns where water can soak slowly into the ground. By using the rainwater, you can reduce runoff and its potential for water contamination. Consider using a rain barrel, plastic barrel, or home-made container to store rain water. Make your own by putting a plastic trash can inside a more aesthetic container that can be lifted out and periodically cleaned. Natural rainwater has proven more beneficial for plantings and gardens than tap water because it doesn’t contain chlorine and its slightly acidic pH assists nutrient availability in most lawns and gardens. Using the rainwater is important. However, if left to stand, it becomes a mosquito breeding area. Screening is necessary over the water to prevent mosquito breeding.

See our Rain Barrel page and Home Landscape Practices for Water Quality Protection, Rutgers Cooperative Extension Fact Sheet #924, October 2003 for additional information.

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Landscape Professionals

Through a USDA CSREES National Water Program grant (agreement number 2007-51130-03878), Rutgers Cooperative Extension is able to offer a rain garden training program for professional landscapers for the years 2008-2010.

The rain garden training for professional landscapers provides landscape professionals throughout New Jersey with the skills needed to install and maintain a rain garden as well as assisting them with marketing for their new service offering. The rain garden training includes in-class lectures and a hands-on demonstration, which results in the installation of demonstration rain gardens. In addition to the installation of demonstration rain gardens, the professional landscapers receive a certificate of completion for the rain garden training as well as educational materials. The training sessions are conducted in North and South Jersey at Union and Gloucester counties.

Visit the
Rain Garden Training for Professional Landscapers webpage for additional information.

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Small Animal Farmers

Stormwater management continues to be a growing concern for small animal farm
facilities across the State of New Jersey. State regulations are concerned that stormwater runoff from these facilities are carrying nutrients and pathogens into local streams and lakes, thereby impairing the health of these waterways.

For small animal farm facilities, animal paddocks are an area of concern. Stormwater runoff can be collected from the animal paddocks to a rain garden (or bioretention system), where it is designed to capture, treat, and infiltrate stormwater runoff via native vegetation and a planting media that is designed to infiltrate, thereby eliminating any threat of water ponding for more than a day or two. In areas where deep infiltration is hindered by clay or bedrock, a rain garden system can be installed with an underain system of perforated PVC piping and stone that discharges to a nearby swale or storm sewer system.

Through the Stormwater Management in Your Backyard program, small animal farmers have an opportunity to work with Rutgers Cooperative Extension to participate in stormwater management projects. Rutgers Cooperative Extension offers guest lectures and provides technical assistance with the installation and maintenance of demonstration stormwater Best Management Practices(BMPs)projects, such as rain gardens, bioretention swales, and naturalizing detention basins.
 

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Local Governmental Agencies

Through the Stormwater Management in Your Backyard program, local governmental
agencies have an opportunity to work with Rutgers Cooperative Extension to participate in stormwater management projects. Rutgers Cooperative Extension offers training workshops and provides technical assistance with the installation and maintenance of demonstration stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) projects, such as rain gardens, bioretention swales, and naturalizing detention basins.

In addition to the Stormwater Management in Your Backyard program, the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program offers
Water Resources for Sustainable Communities which aims to offer solutions for stormwater management,
drinking water conservation and protection, and wastewater management. The Water Resouces Program plans to use their experience to work with a greater number of New Jersey's municipalities to build projects and determine new strategies to help meet the needs of water resources management in the 21st century through this program.

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Developers

Through the Stormwater Management in Your Backyard program, developers have an
opportunity to work with Rutgers Cooperative Extension to participate in stormwater
management projects. Rutgers Cooperative Extension offers training workshops, guest lectures, and provides technical assistance with the installation and maintenance of demonstration stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) projects, such as rain gardens, bioretention swales, and naturalizing detention basins.

In addition to the Stormwater Management in Your Backyard program, the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program offers
Water Resources for Sustainable Communities which aims to offer solutions for stormwater management,
drinking water conservation and protection, and wastewater management. The Water Resouces Program plans to use their experience to work with a greater number of New Jersey's municipalities to build projects and determine new strategies to help meet the needs of water resources management in the 21st century through this program.

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K-12 Schools

Through the Stormwater Management in Your Backyard program, K-12 schools have
an opportunity to work with Rutgers Cooperative Extension to participate in stormwater education programs. Rutgers Cooperative Extension offers teacher workshops, guest lectures, and provides technical assistance with the installation and maintenance of demonstration stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) projects, such as rain gardens and bioretention swales.

In addition to the Stormwater Management in Your Backyard program, the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program has joined forces with Research in Education Applied to Learning (R.E.A.L.) Science to create a new method of science instruction called "Community-Project-Based Learning."
Click here to learn more about "Community-Project-Based Learning," which consist of guest lectures, rain garden demonstration projects, student reports, and group presentations.

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Scouting Organizations

Girl Scouts

Through the Stormwater Management in Your Backyard program, Girl Scouts have an
opportunity to work with Rutgers Cooperative Extension to participate in stormwater
management demonstration projects that can assist with fulfilling a badge requirement and/or a Silver/Gold Award project. Rutgers Cooperative Extension offers guest lectures and provides technical assistance with the installation and maintenance of demonstration stormwater Best Management Practices (BMP) projects, such as rain gardens and bioretention swales.


Boy Scouts

Through the Stormwater Management in Your Backyard program, Boy Scouts have an
opportunity to work with Rutgers Cooperative Extension to participate in stormwater
management demonstration projects that can assist with fulfilling a merit badge requirement and/or an Eagle Scout project. Rutgers Cooperative Extension offers guest lectures and provides technical assistance with the installation and maintenance of demonstration stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) projects, such as rain gardens and bioretention swales.
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