WOODBRIDGE – The Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program decided to come full circle to the place where its very first rain garden was built in 2004 when deciding where members would place the 50th rain garden in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.
The program set out to build 50 rain gardens across the state to commemorate the historic 50th anniversary of Earth Day.
The first rain garden was built behind the Woodbridge Health Department. Christopher C. Obropta, extension specialist in water resources with Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Mayor John E. McCormac and the Woodbridge Township Green Team – comprised of employees from township engineering, public works and planning and development – announced the start of construction of the Woodbridge Main Library Rain Garden as the 50th rain garden on Oct. 15.
The Woodbridge Main Library Rain Garden— the eighth rain garden in the township – will serve as an innovative engineering solution to help capture and treat stormwater runoff.
Two bioswales and two rain gardens are uniquely embedded within the terrain adjacent to the main library’s parking lot. The structures will capture and infiltrate 2,660 square feet of stormwater runoff from the parking area. The first linear bioswale will be connected to a rain garden that will permit stormwater to cascade into a second rain garden. The second rain garden will convey stormwater through a series engineered paths, a second linear bioswale, and into a vegetated area.
The native flowers installed within the structures beautify the site and help to attract pollinating insects like butterflies.
Tom Flynn, certified floodplain manager for the township, said rain gardens help to better infiltrate storm water recharge.
“What people don’t realize is what carries over on hard surfaces are pollutants,” he said. “We will have plants that will flower and attract pollinating insects to better infiltrate the area.”
McCormac said the township is “very proud to partner with the Rutgers team to collectively enhance sustainability initiatives and environmental integrity.
“The Woodbridge Main Library Rain Garden, along with the seven other rain gardens, not only beautify an area of the township property, but also function to enhance the community’s water quality and residents overall quality of life,” he said.
Caroline Ehrlich, township chief of staff, noted rain gardens are not just for public lands, but individual homeowners can build their own rain gardens with guidance from the Rutgers program.
The other rain gardens can be found at Kennedy Park School No. 24, Iselin Branch Library, Henry Inman Branch Library, Fords Branch Library, Woodbridge Township Municipal Building, Woodbridge Township Health Department and Fulton Street in Woodbridge.