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WSU/Pend Oreille Extension introduced the Sense of Place series in 1999, with a focus on place-based stewardship education. Since 2001, a partnership with the Kalispel Tribe of Indians Natural Resources Department (KNRD) has supported this newsletter and allowed us to expand class offerings through EPA funding. Further staff support comes through Renewable Resources Extension Act (RREA). Our newest partner, sponsor of the Rain Garden Challenge, is the Pend Oreille Conservation District. Many thanks to our partners and to you, our readers, for your continued enthusiasm for "digging" into the natural history and culture ofthis part of the world.

Rain Gardens and Shoreline Stabilization

by Carol Mack

Rain gardens have much in common with bio-engineered shoreline stabilization projects. Both depend on plants that tolerate water-saturated soils part of the year—but can survive dry times when waters recede, or when rain doesn’t fall. Both add aesthetic and wildlife value to the property. One important difference is that rain gardens usually collect extra precipitation which is diverted from another source. But where shorelines are unstable, extra water might actually increase the chances of bank collapse. Plantings along fragile banks should NOT incorporate the usual rain garden profile (a slight depression or saucer shape) since that might concentrate runoff and cause sloughing at that point.

Although the design and location of rain gardens near shorelines should be approached carefully, rain gardens can play an important part in stabilization projects. In some cases, bank erosion is partially due to surface runoff flowing over the land or down a ravine during storms. Rain gardens can play an important part in diverting and absorbing that runoff before it gets near the shoreline. Rain gardens also provide a beautiful and functional buffer zone at the edge of lawns, and can keep runoff from roads or roofs away from the bank.

To find out more about participating in the Pend Oreille Rain Garden Challenge (and how to receive free plants for your rain garden) attend one of the rain garden classes, the shoreline stabilization workshop, or contact Pend Oreille Conservation District at 509 447-5370.

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