Monroe partners with Rutgers Cooperative Extension to participate in rain garden program

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Rain gardens were installed at the Monroe Township Senior Center.PHOTO COURTESY OF MONROE TOWNSHIP
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Rain garden installed at the Monroe Township Senior Center.PHOTO COURTESY OF MONROE TOWNSHIP
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Rain gardens were installed at the Monroe Township Senior Center.PHOTO COURTESY OF MONROE TOWNSHIP
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Rain garden installed at the Monroe Township Senior Center.PHOTO COURTESY OF MONROE TOWNSHIP

Monroe Township is one of approximately 84 towns in New Jersey to receive grant funding from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to implement green infrastructure projects in partnership with the Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) Water Resources Program.

β€œI am thrilled that our environmentally-friendly community has been granted the opportunity to participate in this rain garden program in cooperation with Rutgers,” Mayor Gerald W. Tamburro said in a statement after the announcement on Aug. 12. β€œWe are always looking to advance our sustainability initiatives to ensure a cleaner and greener future for our town.”

The grant was used to install rain garden beds at the Monroe Township Senior Center, located at 12 Halsey Reed Road. The RCE prepared the site, provided technical support and funded project materials, according to the statement.

A rain garden is a shallow depression that is planted with deep-rooted native plants and grasses. Typically positioned near a runoff source such as a downspout or driveway, rain gardens capture rainwater runoff and stop the water from reaching the sewer system, according to the statement.

The aim of the rain garden project is to demonstrate the benefits of green stormwater infrastructure and offer an environmental education opportunity for visitors to the site.

“The RCE Water Resources Program is very excited about partnering with Monroe Township to build these beautiful rain gardens. It is a great project that can be completed while social distancing,” Dr. Obropta, RCE Extension specialist in Water Resources said in the statement. β€œIt is wonderful to see communities continue to work to protect the health of their local waterways as we, as a society, struggle to maintain our personal health during
this pandemic.”

In Monroe, the rain garden beds are featured on either side of the main entrance of the Senior Center. Each bed is approximately 400 to 600 square feet. Designed to conform to the existing landscaped beds adjacent to the building, the gardens will manage rooftop stormwater runoff from adjacent downspouts, according to the statement.

β€œThe Monroe Township Environmental Commission and Green Team have greatly appreciated our collaborative effort with RCE on this project,” Karen Polidoro, Environmental Commission chairperson, said in the statement. β€œRain gardens function as a beautiful way to β€˜green’ Monroe by helping to reduce the amount of stormwater runoff that directly enters our streams.”

For more information on rain gardens or to get involved with the Environmental Commission and Green Team projects, email Kathy Budge at kbudge@monroetwp.com.

The Environmental Commission meets the first Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. Visit the Calendar on the Monroe Township website for information on how to attend.