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You are here: Home Summit EcoBuilding 2015 Archive 2015 Speakers Aaron Clark PhD, Stewardship Partners

Aaron Clark PhD, Stewardship Partners

Every year, heavy rains lead to massive flooding across Seattle and Puget Sound, wiping out roads, flooding homes and flooding waterways with pollution from roads and sewage. We know that rain gardens are an effective, affordable and beautiful way to collectively address this huge problem. They are a way for homeowners to take ownership of their rainwater and put it to use creating a lush and verdant landscape, cleaning the runoff that otherwise becomes Puget Sound’s single greatest source of pollution. They create habitat for birds and butterflies, prevent flooding, recharge groundwater supplies, and prevent erosion in creeks and streams. But our success depends on creating the numbers of rain gardens needed to handle the volume of water.
Aaron Clark PhD, Stewardship Partners

Residential Rain Gardens: Site and Landscape Context, Costs, Benefits, and the Value Proposition

Every year, heavy rains lead to massive flooding across Seattle and Puget Sound, wiping out roads, flooding homes and flooding waterways with pollution from roads and sewage. We know that rain gardens are an effective, affordable and beautiful way to collectively address this huge problem. They are a way for homeowners to take ownership of their rainwater and put it to use creating a lush and verdant landscape, cleaning the runoff that otherwise becomes Puget Sound’s single greatest source of pollution. They create habitat for birds and butterflies, prevent flooding, recharge groundwater supplies, and prevent erosion in creeks and streams. But our success depends on creating the numbers of rain gardens needed to handle the volume of water.

Aaron Clark, manager of the 12,000 Rain Gardens Program, will present the basics of what a rain garden is, and share insights on the various motivations that he has encountered that incentivize property owners to install them or not. He will cover effective and not‐so‐effective strategies for marketing rain gardens and related forms of green infrastructure in the residential marketplace. Step by step, rain garden by rain garden, we can solve these problems and even go beyond addressing the problems to improving the ecology of the region.

Learning Objectives

  • An understanding of rain garden basics: what it is, how it works, what it isn’t.

  • A basic awareness of site context and when a rain garden is probably not a good fit (andalternative forms of green infrastructure that achieve similar goals‐ e.g. cisterns, green roofs,bog gardens).

  • What motivates homeowners and developers to install green infrastructure.

  • Money: the bottom line on rain gardens, short term and long term costs and benefits.

Bio

Aaron Clark is an environmental scientist with experience conducting, communicating and applying scientific research for the support of healthy, functioning ecosystems. As the Rain Gardens Program Manager, he focuses on building an interdisciplinary network between communities, policy-makers, businesses, architects, engineers and planners. He received a B.A. in biology from Reed College and a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Washington; he worked as an environmental consultant and landscape designer before joining Stewardship Partners. Aaron is driven by a belief in the positive impact that humans can and do have on the environment through restoration and stewardship.

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