Watershed development including homes, roads, parking lots, commercial sites and other impervious surfaces all contribute to an increase of polluted storm water negatively impacting Hawaiʻi’s water resources. Pollutants such as fertilizers, pesticides and sediment flow across impervious surfaces during rains, which pollutes streams and the ocean and kills coral reefs. However, there are a number of actions homeowners can take to protect water quality. The newest technology available in Hawaiʻi for proactive homeowners is to construct a rain garden in your yard to capture polluted storm water. A rain gardens is an effective low-cost tool for private homeowners to proactively address water quality concerns while enhancing their property’s landscaping.
A rain garden is a deliberately build depression planted with native vegetation that allow storm water from impervious surfaces to collect, briefly settle, then infiltrate into the ground.
Hui o Koʻolaupoko (HOK), a windward Oʻahu based non-profit implementing watershed restoration and education seeks private homeowners to participate in its, Rain Garden Co-op and Cost Share Program. The program is targeted at residential homeowners living in Koʻolaupoko and aimed at addressing water quality issues. The project seeks homeowners who are interested in constructing rain gardens to reduce the amount of storm water runoff reaching streams and the ocean while enhancing their yards’ landscaping.
Funds are available to cover the material cost for such items as plants and soil with the rain gardens built by the homeowners, volunteers, neighbors and HOK. The basis of the co-op is to help your neighbor built a rain garden, in exchange; others will help build one on your property.
HOK also produced the Hawaʻii Residential Rain Garden Manual, now available on our website. The Manual is a step-by-step guide that provides information on proper rain garden location, size, native plant selection and rain garden maintenance. The Manual can be utilized across the state of Hawaiʻi.
If you are interested in learning more about the cost share program or having a rain garden training for your group, contact Todd Cullison at 808-277-5611 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can learn more about rain gardens on HOK’s website at, huihawaii.org/raingardens.html.
Project grant funds for the manual and cost share program come from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the State of Hawaiʻi, Clean Water Branch, Polluted Runoff Control.