The Flathead Rain Garden Initiative was launched this summer and is a program designed to protect local waterways by helping residents build rain gardens on their property. It was collaboratively developed by the City of Kalispell and the Flathead Conservation District (FCD). Since the launch, there have been 2 interactive workshops at the FCD’s new demonstration garden and 4 on-site consults to help residents design and envision rain gardens on their property.
What is a rain garden?
A rain garden is a landscaped depression that collects,filters, and then absorbs stormwater runoff from roof tops, driveways, and other hard surfaces that don't allow water to soak in.
Why are rain gardens important?
Native soils and forests in Montana absorb, filter, and slowly release cool, clean water to our streams, rivers, and lakes. Our rich diversity of plants and animals in rivers and lakes, as well as on land, need clean water to survive.
As our population grows, native soils and forests are replaced with homes, roads, and other hard surfaces. When it rains or snows, more water flows from these hard surfaces than native areas and can carry oil,
fertilizers, pesticides, sediment, and other pollutants downstream. The additional water and the pollutants it carries damage our water resources and harm aquatic life in the Flathead Valley.
The multiple benefits of rain gardens
- Filter oil and grease from driveways, fertilizers, and pesticides from lawns, and other pollutants before they reach groundwater or the storm drain, which eventually discharges in streams, rivers, and lakes.
- Enhance the landscaping and appearance of yards.
- Provide habitat for birds and insects.
- Reduce flooding and erosion in streams.
- Improve local groundwater recharge by helping water soak into the ground.
How you can help!
You can help protect Flathead waters by reducing the amount of stormwater and pollutants coming from your property and entering our local waterways by
installing rain gardens in your yard and other places throughout your community! Learn more at: https://kalispell.com/564/Rain-Gardens#
- Article submitted by City of Kalispell Environmental Specialist Casey Lewis