The Watershed Project

before-raingarden-exampleThe Watershed Project is a non-profit organization based in Richmond, California that focuses on the well-being and connectivity of watersheds as well as the people who live within them. One of their projects works with neighbors and other volunteers to construct a series of rain gardens along the Richmond Greenway adjacent to the San Francisco Bay. The Watershed Project received a grant from the Schwemm Family Foundation in 2015 to support the construction of one of these rain gardens and completed the work this fall.

The idea of a rain garden is that by replacing existing hard surfaces with natural filtering systems, rainwater is not only cleaner as it flows through the watershed but more water is retained and returned to the ground, thereby conserving water that would otherwise evaporate.

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Though local city managers strongly support the rain garden projects, they do not at present have the funds to pay for the manual labor to remove the existing concrete and other impediments to connect the rain garden with the storm drain system. Schwemm Foundation funds helped the Watershed Project to purchase materials and plants, and pay GreenCorps employees to construct the rain garden site and coordinate volunteer planting efforts.

In November 2015 after the removal of the existing hard surface and underlying material and the layering of gravel, soil, and mulch, volunteers including local neighbors planted a variety of California native species appropriate to the site.  

As the plants and all Californians await the winter rains, The Schwemm Foundation wishes the Watershed Project and all the neighbors of the Richmond Greenway the best of luck in this exciting effort.