A collaboration between the City of Anacortes, Samish Indian Nation, Anacortes High School Green Club and local homeowners is creating new rain gardens in the community.

The Samish Nation and the AHS Green Club have helped install several rain gardens in Anacortes — the most recent in front of the home of City Councilman Ryan Walters, an advocate for rain gardens as a stormwater management tool. Walters is also planning director for the Samish Nation.

The city provided excavation within its right-of-way, according to information from the mayor’s office. Walters provided the soil, water and plants; Samish’s Department of Natural Resources provided logistical and design support; and the AHS Green Club provided volunteer labor.

“Rain gardens mimic the function of the natural landscape,” Samish Nation natural resource technician Sarah Wheatley said in a statement provided by the mayor’s office. “We basically use nature’s own engineering to provide attractive, low-maintenance oases for native plants and wildlife. The benefits extend from backyard birds and bees, all the way down the watershed to the salmon and shellfish — and then back again up the food chain to us and the orcas.”

Mayor Laurie Gere said the city “intends to be a leader” in stormwater management.

“We have a special responsibility to ensure that pollutants from human activities aren’t allowed to reach the Salish Sea,” she said in the information from her office.

The city is working on a program to inspire and facilitate homeowner-installed rain gardens throughout the city.

“This project was a great opportunity to engage the community and refine the process for our upcoming rain garden program,” said Diane Hennebert, manager of the city’s stormwater program. “We have some new insights that will be helpful as we move forward.”

Learn more: Samish Indian Nation Department of Natural Resources, www.samishtribe.nsn.us/departments/environment; and City of Anacortes Stormwater Webpage, www.anacorteswa.gov/493/Stormwater

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