Construction of impervious surfaces (i.e. houses, driveways, and streets) prevents infiltration and contributes to the negative impacts of stream quality. Infiltration adds water to the ground during the wet season, which later supplies a base flow to rivers during the dry season. By having a base flow, a river can support aquatic life during the dry months of the year.
Infiltration can be accomplished with:
Rain Gardens: Plant native species of plants in a shallow basin in your lawn that is placed to collect water from a downspout or other concentrated flow of storm water. These plants will slow down and absorb storm water flow.
Rain Barrels: A barrel positioned so that it collects storm water from gutters or downspouts. Once collected, it can be later used to water plants or grass and is thereby infiltrated in that way.
Infiltration is most efficient when accomplished before water leaves your property or yard. Use of rain barrels and rain gardens replaces the missing infiltration created by impervious surfaces and minimizes the impacts of base flow reductions. For more information, contact the Howard Public Works Department at (920) 434-4060.