For years, I’ve wanted a rain barrel and now I have an easy way to get one. The Indian Creek Nature Center in Cedar Rapids is selling 65-gallon rain barrels as part of its Million Gallon Challenge to help reduce stormwater runoff. Lynn Ruck, co-owner of Rain Water Solutions, Inc. of Raleigh N.C., sent these photos so you can see what the barrels looks like. See the company’s Web site at: www.RainWaterSolutions.com
If you’d prefer to make your own, the Nature Center can help with that, too. Here is info about an upcoming workshop: Sat., Feb. 6, 1 p.m., Indian Creek Nature Center, 6665 Otis Rd. SE, GREEN & SIMPLE: RAIN BARREL BUILDING WORKSHOP. Member -$40; Nonmember – $50. Cost includes a materials fee. EVERY GALLON COUNTS! Capture your home roof runoff and keep it from entering the local creek by converting a recycled, blue 55-gallon drum into a rain barrel. The resulting free water supply can be used for gardening and other yard projects. Master Gardener Deb Walser will lead this workshop. CALL 362-0664 BY 4 PM ON FRIDAY, JANUARY 29 TO REGISTER.
And here is more about the Nature Center’s Million Gallon Challenge:
NATURE CENTER CHALLENGES IOWANS TO REDUCE RUNOFF
The Indian Creek Nature Center, a Cedar Rapids based nonprofit, is challenging Iowans to reduce flooding at its source.
“Flooding is worsened when rain pours off roofs, driveways, and parking lots and rushes down storm sewers into streams and rivers,” said Don Johnson, a Nature Center Board Member. “The best way to prevent flooding is to mimic nature and encourage water to be absorbed into the ground. A rain barrel allows homeowners to capture run off and direct it towards plants and gardens when the soil is able to absorb the water the way nature intended.”
Among the many techniques for reducing runoff, placing rain barrels under gutter downspouts is one of the easiest for a homeowner to implement. The rain barrels collect roof water during storms and enable landowners to use it a week or two later to irrigate lawns and gardens. Every gallon held in a rain barrel is one that won’t cause mischief downstream.
The Nature Center is initiating the MILLION GALLON CHALLENGE as an Earth Day Project. “Our goal is to have 1,000 rain barrels put in place between April 22nd, the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, and the 2nd anniversary of the flood on June 13, 2010” continued Johnson. “However, I can’t think of a reason why every homeowner wouldn’t want to participate in this challenge,” he said.
Each rain barrel holds 65 gallons of water. In a typical season, 1,000 rain barrels should reduce runoff by one million gallons while providing free irrigation water to homeowners. Although that’s a small percentage of urban runoff, it will help reduce flooding. The Nature Center’s mantra is EVERY GALLON COUNTS.
To make rain barrel installation easy, the Nature Center is partnering with Rain Water Solutions, a company that manufactures attractive 65 gallon units called “The Moby”. They are made in the USA of recycled plastic and have a brass hose tap, locking lid, and cover that helps prevents bugs from getting into the barrel. Moby’s are light enough for most people to easily carry, fit in the back of most four door cars, and come with installation instructions. They are constructed so that it is easy to link two or more together for additional rain harvest.
The Moby costs $100 each when purchased directly through the Indian Creek Nature Center’s website: www.indiancreeknaturecenter.org
You can also purchase The Moby by sending a check, in the amount of $100 made payable to the Indian Creek Nature Center, to 6665 Otis Road, SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52403. Please write “Rain Barrel Project” on the check and include a phone number… Truckloads of rain barrels will be delivered to the Nature Center’s parking lot to be picked up by the purchasers. The Nature Center will notify purchasers at a later time of the exact pickup dates and times.
Although rain barrels are an effective way for people to reduce runoff there are many other simple techniques that property owners can use to help water percolate into the ground. Simply directing gutter downspout water to a vegetated surface instead of pavement helps. Also, mowing lawns at a higher level enables grass to send roots deeper. Lawns with taller grass tend to absorb water more readily than closely clipped turf, and replacing lawns with prairie or woodland vegetation can greatly increase the soil’s ability to absorb water.
“The Nature Center’s goal is to help people do whatever they can to reduce runoff at its source. We want rain to go into the soil, not someone’s basement,” continued Johnson.
More info is in the Jan. 27, 2010, edition of The Gazette.