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Infiltrate Water, Get Paid

I'm an advocate for plant based stormwater solutions. So when I saw the recent statehouse news, I wanted to make a comment here. On Tuesday the Iowa House Local Government Committee passed Senate File 455 on to the full House for consideration. The Iowa Environmental Council described the bill as a proposal "to prevent cities and counties from adopting local stormwater ordinances and topsoil replacement requirements for new developments. This would restrict city and county governments’ ability to require developers to install effective stormwater infrastructure. Developers will be able to do the bare minimum at the time of construction, leaving community members to foot the bill when their neighborhood floods and streambanks erode in the coming years."


I am against this bill, and I do hope that we will continue to hold developers accountable for managing increased stormwater and erosion created by their projects. If you feel the same, write to your representative. However, even developers that follow the current local stormwater requirements often leave a site that is compacted and covered with a rootless lawn that infiltrates very little rain. If you find yourself in this situation, consider converting some (or all) of your lawn to a native wildflower garden. Many native grasses and wildflowers thrive in low nutrient, compacted soils, and have deep taproots or dense fibrous roots that readily soak up rainwater. And the flowering plants feed and shelter our native pollinators. Win win.


Need more convincing? How about getting your lawn conversion project paid for by your local municipality? Many cities in Iowa offer a Stormwater Cost-Share Program that matches funds for residential and commercial projects that infiltrate water using Stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs). In Cedar Rapids, the BMP known as Soil Quality Restoration allows for the replacement of lawn with deep rooted native plants, and will reimburse up to $2000 for your project, including design fees, materials and labor. The Cedar Rapids program will also fund rain gardens, permeable paving, and several other BMPs. If you're interested in infiltrating stormwater and need help applying for the cost share program, get in touch.




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