Rain Gardens, also known as bioretention, are a beautiful way to manage stormwater on site. A rain garden is a
constructed depression in the soil that ranges from a few inches to several feet in depth, depending on the amount
of area that drains into the rain garden. The depression is filled with an engineered soil mixture that allows water
to percolate quickly. The garden is then planted with shrubs and flowers that "drink" up the stormwater.
In 2006, the WVDEP partnered with several organizations to build a rain garden at the Berkeley County Judicial
Complex in Martinsburg, WV. The partners included the City of Martinsburg, Berkeley County Commission, the
Berkeley-Jefferson Master Gardeners, Opequon Creek Project Team, and others. Without the commitment and involvement
of the partners this project would not have succeeded.
The space for the rain garden was chosen because runoff from the parking lot drained to this corner. And,
there was an available storm drain inlet that would receive excessive amounts of water. Five parking spaces
were removed to accomodate the rain garden. During construction of the rain garden the Berkeley County
Judicial Center was undergoing a major rennovation. (The green hash marks in the photo indicate the area
where the rain garden will be constructed.)
The Berkeley-Jefferson Master Gardeners and members of the Opequon Creek Project Team pitched in and planted
the flowers and shrubs in the rain garden. This photo was taken shortly after the plants were placed in the
Photo by George Snider
By May of 2008, the plants are well established and starting to fill the empty spaces.
In November of 2008 the plants are showing off their fall colors.
Photo by Alana Hartman
- Opequon Creek
- Description: The Opequon Creek Project Team (OCPT) was formed in April 2005 to plan and
implement nonpoint source pollution reduction projects in the watershed.
- Rain Garden Network
- Description: A rain garden is no more than a shallow depression, planted with deep-rooted
native plants and positioned near a runoff source.