Rain Garden Cost Share
The purpose of the City of Owatonna Rain Garden Cost Share Program (RGCS) is to promote, facilitate, and increase the number of residential rain gardens in Owatonna by awarding cost share grants for a limited number of residential rain gardens. These rain gardens will be used as educational resources to further promote ways to improve water quality and reduce the risk of localized flooding. Modeled after cost share programs in Rochester and Dakota County, the RGCS program will provide cost share grants of 50% up to $500 to residents who meet eligibility requirements.
Rain gardens can be located just about anywhere on a landscape, but here are some guidelines to help you select the right place:
- Areas where there are water puddles long enough to form small ponds are not ideal. The infiltration of the soil is already low, and adding a garden will make it worse.
- Choose a relatively flat section of land that has well drained soil. This will make digging easier.
- Place the garden at least ten feet from a building foundation to prevent structural damage from flooding and wetness.
- Place the garden in full, or immediate, sunlight. This will speed up drying, decrease pathogens, and promote plant growth.
- You will want to look for a place that the rain garden will catch runoff. It is usually a low-laying area.
When you go to design your garden, you can do just about anything. They can be just about any shape or size. A lot of rain garden designs are in the shape of a kidney bean, with the largest side facing the source of the runoff. However, shape is not critical. Use your imagination. But, before you start digging call your local utilities to make sure that your garden will not interfere with electric, gas, phone, or water lines.
Homeowners will request a site visit from the Water Quality Specialist.
If all standards are met, homeowner will submit a rain garden budget and design for review.
Application will be reviewed and graded on the criteria included in the documents.
Properly designed, constructed, and maintained rain gardens have many benefits. They capture rainwater runoff from lawns, roofs, and driveways. Keeping rainwater close to where it falls helps improve and protect the quality of lakes, rivers, and groundwater and reduces the load on the storm sewer system. Rain gardens provide many additional benefits such as adding beauty and value to each home and providing wildlife habitat to attract beneficial birds, butterflies, and dragonflies.
The City of Owatonna will:
- Assist in project guidance of rain garden installation
- Conduct a preliminary site visit to evaluate the feasibility of a rain garden
- Provide cost share reimbursement of 50% up to $500 for approved projects
- Provide landscape design and technical assistance throughout the process
Cost share recipients agree to:
- Allow City staff to take photos and information gained from project for future public education opportunities
- Authorize access by City staff to inspect the project, construction activities, and post-construction conditions
- Maintain the rain garden, ensuring it is functioning as designed
The following criteria are minimum eligibility standards and must be met for the applicant to be considered:
- The budget and rain garden plan are reasonable and the rain garden will be installed the growing season immediately following the award notice
- The homeowner enters into an Agreement with the City to maintain the project, ensuring it is functioning as designed
- The rain garden is not required as a condition of development or to satisfy other regulatory requirements;
- The rain garden is proposed on a residential parcel owned by an Owatonna citizen and located within Owatonna City Limits
- The rain garden will be used as a demonstration and education site and will be easily accessible for viewing by the public
- The rain garden will quantifiably reduce storm water runoff, thereby improving water quality
After all program requirements have been met and approved, including a site visit to verify project completion and success, a request for reimbursement may be made. The reimbursement request must include receipts for materials and services purchased. All reimbursement requests for projects completed within a fiscal year must be submitted by December 31st of that year.
The RGCS will increase awareness of stormwater issues and solutions in Owatonna while also providing quantifiable stormwater pollution reductions that Owatonna can use towards future TMDL restrictions. This program will help satisfy Owatonna’s MS4 Minimum Control Measures:
- Pollution Prevention and Good Housekeeping
- Public Education and Outreach
- Public Participation and Involvement