Thanks to my friend, Katie, for pointing out that yesterday was Endangered Species day (although wildlife could really use at least a bit of our attention every day). She posted a link to this great article about ten things we can each do to help.
Here in Seattle, the Puget Sound gets runoff from the surrounding areas, which includes a lot of pollutants. As a result, the sea creatures trying to live in it are stressed and their numbers are dwindling, including the beautiful, intelligent Orca ("Killer") whales.
A major contributor to this pollution comes from the sewer system in Seattle, which collects roof and road runoff along with the sewage. Whenever we get a hard rain, the sewer system is overwhelmed, and raw sewage runs into the Sound. Even in areas where raw sewage isn't a problem, rainwater runoff carries all sorts of toxic stuff into lakes, streams, rivers, and the ocean. For details, see the People for Puget Sound's "Polluted Runoff" page.
To help this problem, Bill and I had a rain garden installed to catch the runoff from our roof, filter it through the roots of plants, and return it to the ground water table. We are lucky to be in a zone where the city is testing rain gardens as a solution for the overflow problem, so we got ours for free. Watching the contractor install it, we realized that this isn't rocket science, and the materials are fairly inexpensive: plastic piping to run the water out to the garden, some gravel, some compost, and some plants that don't drown from being occasionally deluged.
|Water from the roof is piped into this bowl-shaped garden where it slowly seeps into the ground.|
Happy rain gardening!
PS Did you know that you can listen to Orca whales talking to each other on the hydrophone network?
PPS The Whale Trail is offering free Orca Steward Training. Learn all about it at their web site. Also check out this FaceBook page: Killer Whale Tales
Rain gardens help keep storm water out of the sewer system, and sewage out of Puget Sound.