Bioswale Installed at Lied Scottsbluff Public Library

The planted area you see pictured below is a bioswale.  A bioswale is a long, often linear depression in the ground that allows water to move from one location to another.  It has gentle side slopes where plants can be grown to slow water enough to filter pollutants and allow more runoff to filter into the ground.  This bioswale collects all the water from the roof of the library and directs it to the storm drain at the bottom of the swale.  Roof runoff often carries many pollutants, such as leaf litter, bacteria and algae that grow in gutters, and bird droppings.  The plants in the bioswale will help remove these pollutants before the runoff enters the storm sewer system, where it travels directly to theNorth Platte River.

 

This bioswale was the Eagle Scout project for Spencer Lake.  Lake worked with the City of Scottsbluff to complete the project with help from members of Boy Scout Troop 13 and the UNL Master Gardeners.  The project was designed by Amy Seiler and was funded in part with grant funds from the Greener Nebraska Towns Initiative and in part by the Lied Scottsbluff Public Library Foundation.   The day of the installation, we had 29 volunteers work for a combined 100 hours.

Scroll through our pictures below for more information on this project.

Continue reading Bioswale Installed at Lied Scottsbluff Public Library

Household Hazardous Wastes

A Threat to You, A Threat to Your Environment

Did you know that once every two and a half minutes someone calls a poison control center to report exposure to a household cleaning substance?Over half of these calls involve the exposure of a child under five years old.2  Most of us have several different kinds of toxic substances in our homes, including cleaning supplies, paint thinner, pesticides, etc.  Not only are these products toxic while inside your home, if not disposed of properly, they can also be toxic to the environment.  Continue reading Household Hazardous Wastes

How to Install a Rain Garden

Note: This post describes the rain garden demonstration project which was installed in Scottsbluff in July 2010 with the help of the UNL Extension Stormwater Team.  The garden is located on the corner of 19th Street and Avenue B.

Step 1 Choosing the Site

Rain gardens are designed to catch runoff from roofs, driveways, streets, sidewalks, or other areas of the lawn.  This was an excellent site for a rain garden because of the downspout that drains into the area.  Minimum work was needed to channel the runoff into the rain garden. Continue reading How to Install a Rain Garden

Additional Tips for Homeowners

  • Review your home for stormwater handling. If your gutter, downspout, driveway or deck directly discharges into a water body, retrofit it by redirecting the runoff onto a grassy area or installing a berm/swale system. Or even install a Rain Barrel.
  • Design your landscaping to limit water use. Install a Rain Garden.
  • If you have an irrigation system, make sure it is in good working order and limit its use to actual watering needs. Install rain sensors into your irrigation system.
  • Consider replacing impervious surfaces like sidewalks, decks and driveways around your home with more pervious materials or methods like mulch, turf block, pervious concrete or clean stone.
  • Retain shrubby vegetation along waterfronts to prevent erosion and help stop heavy rain sheetflow.
  • Never dispose of oils, pesticides or other chemicals onto driveways, roadways or storm drains. The next rain will either carry it into a surface water or help it soak into our drinking water.
  • Reduce the amount of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides you apply to your lawn and landscaping. What the plants can’t absorb quickly usually results in surface or groundwater pollution.

 

More Ways to Help the Initiative

  • Use environmentally friendly cleaning products — and continue to dispose of them in the proper manner.
  • Educate friends and family on the importance of proper waste disposal.
  • Attend community meetings and citizen panels, and voice your concerns. Continue reading More Ways to Help the Initiative

What You Can Do to Help

Easy tips for keeping our water clean

  • Litter
    Litter disposed of in a storm drain can choke, suffocate and disable aquatic life. Dispose of your litter by throwing it in a trash can or recycling it. In addition, do your part by properly disposing of litter you find in the street or on the sidewalk.
  • Washing your car
    Washing your car in the driveway creates a runoff of soap and other chemicals that ends up in the nearest storm drain. You can either take your car to a self-service car wash, which is designed with special drains for proper disposal, or wash your car on your lawn. The dirt below will act as a filter for the soap.
  • Pet waste
    Pet waste dumped in storm drains goes straight into your rivers and lakes, contaminating the water. Continue reading What You Can Do to Help

Rain Gardens

What is a rain garden?

A rain garden is a garden of native shrubs, perennials, and flowers planted in a small depression, which is generally formed on a natural slope. It is designed to temporarily hold and soak in rain water runoff that flows from roofs, driveways, patios or lawns. 

The same rain garden a couple of months later.
This rain garden catches runoff from the roof and gives it time to soak into the soil, where the plants will be able to use it.

Continue reading Rain Gardens

Rain Barrels

What are they?

A rain barrel is any above ground container modified to receive, store, and distribute rooftop runoff for non-drinking uses. The typical size of a rain barrel is 55 gallons. The main components of a rain barrel are a connection to the downspout, a filter to prevent mosquitoes from entering, a faucet to allow for regulated usage, and an overflow pipe to divert the excess water. Continue reading Rain Barrels