Have an unsightly ditch? Consider a bioswale! These ditches have been designed to improve drainage, water quality, and natural habitats. They use taller (3″) vegetation to slow down the flow of stormwater which allows dirt and sediment to fall out of the flow and creates a cleaner discharge. The slower water also has a chance to seep into the ground and replenish the groundwater reservoir we use for our drinking water. Taller vegetation creates habitats for wildlife and may attract more pollinators (like butterflies, bees, and beetles). See the USDA’s guide here: https://bit.ly/380yr3R
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.