“There are no environmental solutions to environmental problems, only social, economic and political ones.” - Charles Secrett, Friends of the Earth

Aquinas College

Landscaping

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photo

Plant native to the Great Lakes area. Compass Plant (Silphium Laciniatum/Family: Asteraceae)
Photo courtesy of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The landscape around buildings can be designed to allow storm water to infiltrate the ground rather than run off into the storm sewer or the sanitary sewer. Creating a rain garden, for example, can be a very effective method that will allow water to recharge aquifers. In addition, rain gardens reduce the otherwise added expense of the retainment and treatment of runoff posed upon business owners, local treatment facilities and area water bodies. Another very effective way to reduce storm water runoff is to landscape the rooftops of buildings. Green roofs are beneficial in many ways besides capturing rain water, such as extending the life of the roof, keeping the building cool in summer and warm in winter, providing wildlife habitat, reducing the urban heat island effect, absorbing carbon dioxide and creating aesthetically pleasing green space amidst the surrounding concrete.

Our rate of growth and consumption of green space is allowing storm water to overwhelm our waterways and city infrastructure. The most important thing to realize as business owners and individual home owners is that we must begin to employ storm water reduction methods if we want to protect our water resources.

Links

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Fact sheet

The EPA fact sheet contains all kinds of useful information on native plants, including case studies, plant lists, weed laws, and a how-to-guide.

Water-Wise Landscaping

Nearly half of residential water demand in the United States is dedicated to sprinkling our lawns and gardens. This site is brought to you by the Virginia Cooperative Extension of Virginia State University and offers tips for planning and creating a water-wise lawn. Click here to find out how you can make a difference in your own backyard.

Wild Ones

This organization is a national not-for-profit with a mission to educate and share information with members and the community at the "plants-roots" level and to promote biodiversity and environmentally sound practices. The Wild Ones site contains an explanation of the benefits of native landscaping, as well as a guide to selecting native plants.

Funded by the Steelcase Foundation of Grand Rapids, Michigan
Header photo courtesy of Michigan Travel Bureau
Site by CMC/GrandNet