Fall 2012 |
Bioretention gardens installed on MCC’s Fort Omaha Campus
MCC, in partnership with the city of Omaha’s Stormwater Program, has installed two bioretention gardens surrounded by native and adapted landscaping on its Fort Omaha Campus, 30th and Fort streets, between Building 30 and its horticulture greenhouse.
The project, funded by the city of Omaha and the Nebraska Forest Service’s Waterwise Program, demonstrates effective stormwater management in a sustainable way by retaining water temporarily, allowing it to infiltrate into the existing soils and allowing the natural capabilities of native plant life to use and soak up the water to reduce the demand on Omaha’s sewer lines.
The area serves as a teaching garden for MCC’s Horticulture program and a tool to educate the community and students on managing stormwater runoff.
The bioretention gardens are designed to intercept and hold runoff from surrounding parking areas. The retained water is designed to drain down within 24–48 hours through infiltration into the existing soils and slowly releasing it into the storm sewer through an underdrain, a pipe below the surface to ensure it drains down. This helps to alleviate peak discharges—the huge rush of water during rain events—of stormwater runoff, relieving pressure on downstream environments and sewer systems. The shrubs, perennials and ornamental grasses in and around the gardens, planted by a summer horticulture class, have deep roots that will help to increase infiltration and filter pollutants within the gardens, resulting in both stormwater quality and quantity benefits. This project improves MCC’s stormwater quality and quantity by managing rain where it lands rather than treating it like a waste product and piping it away as fast as possible.