Wildlife in Vaughn Bay is at risk due to sediment-infused rain trickling into the bay.
But one Key Peninsula resident recently made some changes to his home that will help control the runoff from his roof.
While attending a March workshop sponsored by the Pierce Conservation District at the Key Peninsula City Center, Scott Bassett entered a raffle and won the equipment and installation of a rain garden.
Three-quarters of the runoff water from Bassett’s roof trickles down a pipe and is collected in a ditch.
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“We have a ditch below a rock wall that drains water alongside the house and works its way into Vaughn Bay,” he said.
The majority of the runoff water from the roof is captured and pushed into a garden where the plants absorb the water, while the rest heads into Vaughn Bay. In peak rain season, overflow may occur, resulting in more water entering the bay. The rain garden is 200 square feet, and approximately 100 plants were planted late last month.
EarthCorps, an environmental organization based in Seattle, donated its time and effort in the preparation, design and installation of Bassett’s rain garden, all which was overseen by the Pierce Conservation District.
Bassett picked out plants for the garden and received most of what he wanted; the plants he received depended on what growers in the area had to offer.
“We were sent a layout of the garden,” Bassett said prior to the garden being installed.
After rainwater is collected from the roof, sediment is sifted out through a filter. As a result, the rain garden will “reduce sediment from going in (to the bay), said Bassett.
The oysters in Vaughn Bay, in particular, have been negatively impacted by runoff.
“Every once in a while sediment needs to be cleaned out because it collects, which could shorten the lifespan,” said Bassett when describing the rain garden.
But he believes the rain garden has a long lifespan.
“I had limited knowledge (about rain gardens) before the workshop,” he said.
After winning the rain garden, Bassett did some research.
“I got a manual that does more explaining,” he said. “People are seeing the benefits (from having a rain garden).”
There is a system similar to that of a rain garden, called rain barrels. Rain barrels are similar in that rainwater is collected, but this collected water is saved rather than being dispersed into a garden. This water can then be used in case of emergencies or in lieu of certain home appliances.
“I could do rain barrels to use for the the shower or sink,” Bassett said. “I’m interested in doing it somewhere down the road. It’s easy to add.”