New year starts with new rain garden projects

The engineering team takes a look at the site where a rain garden will be built on the Nash Community College campus.

Sound Rivers’ Environmental Projects Coordinator Clay Barber has embarked on a new project in the new year: two rain gardens and a swale restoration at Nash Community College to alleviate nutrient and sediment pollution of a nearby creek.

“We’re working closely with Ken White, he’s the master gardener at Nash Community College, and he’s super-jazzed about it,” Clay said.

Of the two rain gardens planned, one is front and center and will welcome visitors to campus. Where a riser outlet (in this case, a drainage grate at dip in the ground) exists in an open lawn area, Backwater Environmental will be constructing a brick-walled garden that will trap a certain amount of rainwater and runoff from the main campus road to slow down entry into a nearby creek, and allow the water be filtered by the soil of the garden.

“Nash Community College is an American Tree and Bee Campus, so more native plants are going to fit right in and be appreciated there,” Clay said.

The garden will be planted with eastern wild rye, broom sedge, pink muhly grass, joe-pye weed, lizard’s tail, common rush, black-eyed Susans, cardinal flowers and purple coneflower, surrounded by triple-shredded hardwood mulch. The oblong and curved-border garden will also feature a river rock path.

“It will be very pretty and will attract all kinds of birds, and bees, and insects,” Clay said. “That’s what’s cool about these things — they are always different.”

There’s likely to be some discussion, and perhaps redirection, with the proposed site for the second rain garden, he said, as there may be too many underground utilities lines in the area.

The other project will address severe erosion of a swale adjacent to a main campus road and runs right through the middle of the campus’ disc golf course.

Clay said, the estimated time of completion of the stormwater control projects is five weeks.

The project comes courtesy of funding by the Canon Foundation and a North Carolina Environmental Enhancement Grant, with designs done by Kris Bass Engineering.

Restoring an eroded swale is one of three projects set for the new year at Nash Community College.