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Mayor's Office

2008 Media Releases

March 4, 2008
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Ed Kouma, Public Works and Utilities, 441-7018
Nicole Fleck-Tooze, Public Works and Utilities, 441-6173


Mayor Chris Beutler announced today that the Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET) Grants Committee has recommended Lincoln receive $145,000 over two years to fund up to 90 rain gardens. Rain gardens are designed to filter pollutants from driveways, patios, roofs and lawns to help keep streams and lakes clean and healthy.

“Rain gardens have proven to have a significant impact on the amount of chemicals and sediment that enter our water,” said Mayor Beutler. “With this grant, many Lincoln families will be able to create these gardens at a very low cost to them. I want to thank the Trust for funding another project that protects our environment and adds to the quality of life in Lincoln.”

The NET Board will make final decisions on the recommendations following an April 3 public hearing. Once the recommendation is accepted, Lincoln residents will be invited to apply for a rain garden on their property. Under the program, the grant would cover 80 percent of the property owner’s cost. The project will include a public education program on the impact of stormwater runoff on lakes and streams. A number of rain gardens will be made available to Lincoln schools to educate students on stormwater quality issues.

Nicole Fleck-Tooze, Special Projects Administrator for the Public Works and Utilities Department, said rain gardens are depressed areas with native vegetation designed to temporarily hold and soak in stormwater runoff. She said rain gardens can remove up to 90 percent of nutrients and chemicals and 80 percent of sediments from stormwater runoff on a property.

The City is now completing a pilot project in the Holmes Lake Watershed in which 20 rain gardens and 20 rain barrels were installed. The project was intended to help address water quality issues in the lake, where $5.5 million in improvements were completed in the last few years. Rain barrels conserve water by capturing stormwater from rooftop downspouts for later use in watering gardens and flowerbeds.

The Holmes Lake pilot project received funding from the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) and the Lower Platte South Natural Resources District(LPSNRD).

The City is planning a workshop in May to help property owners design and build rain gardens. Information on rain gardens and rain barrels is available on the City Web site at (keywords: rain garden, rain barrel).

The NET Grants Committee recommended the City receive $45,000 in 2008 and $100,000 in 2009. Matching funds will be contributed by the City of Lincoln, LPSNRD and NDEQ.

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