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Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority

Funding for rain gardens

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Bayfield residents encouraged to apply for rain garden funding as part of pilot project

Bayfield residents encouraged to apply for rain garden funding as part of pilot project

New funding to help homeowners install rain gardens on their properties to help manage stormwater and keep water clean

There has been a lot of interest in rain gardens in Bayfield with recent workshops and demonstration gardens at Pioneer Park. Homeowners in Bayfield are now encouraged to apply for funding to help install these gardens on their properties.

“Local people suggested rain gardens as a management solution for dealing with urban runoff in the community-based Main Bayfield Watershed Plan,” said Hope Brock, Healthy Watersheds Technician with Ausable Bayfield Conservation. “Now homeowners have this great opportunity to install a rain garden and help protect Lake Huron.”

The Huron County Clean Water Project and the Municipality of Bluewater, through its Blue Flag initiative, have provided funding. The Blue Flag is an international designation awarded to beaches and marinas that meet certain criteria like water quality. The Bayfield Main Beach has flown the Blue Flag since 2010. Funding assistance will cover 50 per cent of the cash costs up to a maximum of $500 per rain garden. There is a limited amount of funding available for a limited number of projects.

Bayfield homeowners interested in receiving funding to create a rain garden on their property should contact a local landscape professional who has received a Landscape Ontario endorsed rain garden certificate (visit the Ausable Bayfield Conservation rain gardens page at this link: Rain Garden Page). Once the contractor has provided a plan and a quote for the garden, the homeowner will need to contact Ausable Bayfield Conservation staff for a site visit to complete the application, which is available online. Grants, subject to approval, are paid out upon the satisfactory completion of the rain garden. Homeowners can apply for funding without a contractor, but preference is given to the applications that use a certified contractor.     

Rain gardens are shallow, sunken gardens. They protect local water quality when they collect, absorb and filter water running off of land during storms. When it rains or when snow melts, water runs off roofs, patios, and driveways. Rain gardens can prevent this water, along with contaminants the runoff picks up, from draining directly into a local storm sewer or nearby watercourses. “Rain gardens provide benefits to water quality,” said Brock. “Rain gardens reduce flooding and erosion, and they can also add beauty to your yard and create habitat.”