New rain garden helps farm prevent runoff contamination - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

New rain garden helps farm prevent runoff contamination

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MIDDLETON (WKOW) -- A new rain garden at Pope Farm Conservancy is helping prevent Wisconsin's waters from becoming polluted.

Pope Farm's prairies are most famous for its giant sunflowers, in bloom for about two weeks in each August. The rest of the year, ecologist Michael Healy of Adaptive Restoration works to restore the prairies, which includes keeping water from running off the land and going into lakes and streams.

"A rain garden is a native landscaping feature that helps capture storm water runoff from driveways, parking lots, and our roofs," Healy said.

Healy also says people can build rain gardens in their own yards, especially if they have a slope, and filling them with native prairie plants. Flowering plants such as Boneset and Lobelia have longer roots, which help absorb large amounts of water, therefore keeping water from ending up in Wisconsin's waters.

About 380,000 acres of the state's lakes and reservoirs and more than 3,300 miles of streams and rivers are polluted and don't support swimming or fishing, according to the Wisconsin Environment Research and Policy Center.

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