Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Rain gardens are sprouting up everywhere

Date:
December 2, 2010
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
Rain gardens are increasingly popular with homeowners and municipalities and are mandatory for many communities nationally. US Department of Agriculture scientists are finding ways to improve rain gardens so they not only reduce runoff, but also keep toxic metals out of storm drains.

ARS hydrologist Douglas Boyer (right) and Beckley Sanitary Board operations manager Jeremiah Johnson discuss the performance of a rain garden constructed from local materials. The rain garden is being tested for its ability to reduce storm water runoff, increase infiltration, and remove excess nutrients and other pollutants from the runoff water before it gets to streams or other bodies of water.
Credit: Photo by Stephen Ausmus

Rain gardens are increasingly popular with homeowners and municipalities and are mandatory for many communities nationally. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists are finding ways to improve rain gardens so they not only reduce runoff, but also keep toxic metals out of storm drains.

Rain gardens are plantings in depressions that catch stormwater runoff from sidewalks, parking lots, roads and roofs. Rain gardens come in various shapes and sizes, from large basins carved by front-end loaders to small artificial streambed-like formations complete with pebbles. Rain gardens not only slow water down to give it time to soak into the ground and be used by plants, but also filter out sediment and chemical pollutants.

Plant physiologist Rich Zobel at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Appalachian Farming Systems Research Center (AFSRC) at Beaver, W.Va., and research associate Amir Hass, who works for West Virginia State University in Institute, W.Va., and is stationed at Beaver, are working on improving rain gardens. They are collaborating with ARS hydrologist Doug Boyer and ARS soil chemist Javier Gonzalez at Beaver, and colleagues at the ARS Southern Regional Research Center (SRRC) in New Orleans, La., and the ARS Eastern Regional Research Center (ERRC) in Wyndmoor, Pa.

ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency, and this research supports USDA's commitment to agricultural sustainability.

The scientists at the SRRC found that poultry litter biochar-activated carbons created from the charred remains of poultry litter-is a powerful pollutant magnet. It can attract heavy metals such as copper, cadmium and zinc, which are ordinarily tough to snag from wastewater.

ARS chemists Isabel Lima and Wayne Marshall (now retired) at the SRRC developed the ARS-patented method for turning agricultural bio-waste into biochar. They created the biochar by subjecting poultry litter -- bedding materials such as sawdust, wood shavings and peanut shells, as well as droppings and feathers -- to pyrolysis, a high-temperature process that takes place in the absence of oxygen.

Hass and colleagues are testing the poultry litter biochar as well as other farm and industrial byproducts at two demonstration rain gardens in the Beaver area, as well as at plots at a county landfill and a mineland reclamation site.

Read more about this research in the November/December 2010 issue of Agricultural Research magazine at: http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/nov10/gardens1110.htm


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. The original article was written by Don Comis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Rain gardens are sprouting up everywhere." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 December 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101201151908.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2010, December 2). Rain gardens are sprouting up everywhere. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101201151908.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Rain gardens are sprouting up everywhere." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101201151908.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Three Rare White Tiger Cubs Debut at Zoo

Raw: Three Rare White Tiger Cubs Debut at Zoo

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) The Buenos Aires Zoo debuted a trio of rare white Bengal tiger cubs on Wednesday. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins