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Rain Gardens

What is a Rain Garden?
Pinelands Commission Rain Garden
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What is a Rain Garden?

Rain gardens are shallow depressions filled with plants. Considered green infrastructure, they collect and hold stormwater from roof downspouts, parking lots, lawns and other surfaces, allowing plants and soil to filter out harmful pollutants that may otherwise flow into storm drains and enter streams, rivers, lakes, and other water bodies. They also recharge groundwater and help to mitigate climate change impacts such as flooding.


Pinelands Commission Rain Garden

The Pinelands Commission installed a rain garden filled with native Pinelands plants in front of its headquarters, the Richard J. Sullivan (RJS) Center for Environmental Policy & Education on 15 Springfield Road in Pemberton Township, in June 2022.

The Commission entered into an agreement with the Rutgers Cooperative Extension’s Water Resources Program to design the garden in December 2021.

The garden captures, treats, and infiltrates stormwater runoff from the rooftop of the RJS Center and provides habitat for birds, butterflies, bees, and other wildlife. It features 100% native Pinelands plants, including slender blue flag iris (Iris prismatica), Virginia meadow beauty (Rhexia virginica), narrowleaf sunflower (Helianthus angustifolius), grass-leaf blazing star (Liatris graminifolia), Eastern showy aster (Eurybia spectabilis), New York aster (Symphyotrichum novi-belgii), Maryland golden-aster (Chrysopsis mariana), yellow wild indigo (Baptisia tinctoria), and little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium). 

The garden includes an interpretive sign that highlights the purpose and environmental benefits of rain gardens and includes a list of the nine herbaceous plant species that were used. 

To review the final engineering, design and planting plan for the garden, please click here. For a slideshow of photos showing the Commission's new rain garden, please click here.

The project was funded by the Kathleen M. Lynch-Van de Sande Fund for the Reforestation of the New Jersey Pinelands. The fund was established in memory of Ms. Lynch-van de Sande, a Pinelands Commission Environmental Specialist who died in a car accident in June 1989.


Related Links

Pinelands Commission: Native Pinelands Plants for the Landscape Fact Sheet

Rutgers Cooperative Extension Rain Gardens Webpage

Rutgers Cooperative Extension Rain Garden Information Center

Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station Fact Sheets

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Rain Gardens Fact Sheet

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection NJ Stormwater Management Best Management Practices Manual

Jersey-Friendly Yards Rain Garden Webpage

Jersey-Friendly Yards New Jersey Native Plants Webpage

Jersey-Friendly Yards: Where to Buy Native Plants

The Native Plant Society of New Jersey Rain Garden Manual Webpage

The Native Plant Society of New Jersey: List of Native Plant Nurseries

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Rain Gardens Webpage