Rainscaping

What is Rainscaping?

Rainscaping is a method of watershed restoration that uses practices to manage rain water where it falls. The Macatawa Rasincaping program promotes awareness and implementation of these practices among homeowners, landscapers, and contractors. The program highlights both the benefits of these practices and the skills required for installation.

Some of the practices used in rainscaping are also called green stormwater infrastructure. This is a broader term encompassing many more practices that manage rain water where it falls. Rainscaping includes a subset of green infrastructure practices. They are:

  • Rain barrels
  • Rain gardens
  • Native plants
  • Tree planting
  • Riparian buffers

These practices help manage rain water where it falls while improving water quality, providing wildlife habitat and enhancing aesthetics.

Macatawa Rainscaping

The MACC and partners at ODC Network, Holland BPW and the Holland Hope College Sustainability Institute are working to deliver a rainscaping program in the Macatawa Watershed. This program is modeled after Grand River Rainscaping, an LGROW Program. We are working closely with LGROW staff to honor this program while adapting it to the Macatawa Watershed. A Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant awarded to the MACC in early 2020 is helping to fund program development.

How will the Program Work?

The Macatawa Rainscaping program includes multiple components and various ways to participate. The MACC and partners will develop these components this summer and determine a timeline for when each will be available.

Volunteer Training

We are developing a free volunteer training for anyone interested in conducting site assessments and making rainscaping recommendations for private homeowners. Training will include a classroom portion where participants will learn about rainscaping practices and how to conduct a site assessment. We’ll also provide background information about our watershed, stormwater and other general concepts. Training will include an outdoor portion where participants will practice conducting site assessments. After training is complete, program graduates will be assigned site assessments as they are requested by homeowners. But don’t worry, your trainers will be available to provide support and answer any questions.

Homeowners

Homeowners can sign up to request a free site assessment and recommendations for rainscaping on their property. When available, you will be able to sign up online by filling out a brief survey about your property and goals. We will provide your responses to a volunteer who will arrange for a site visit to walk the property and discuss rainscaping. Within a couple weeks, the volunteer will provide a written summary and additional resources. MACC staff or other project partners will follow up to see if you want to implement any of the recommended practices. Through the current grant, cost-share funding will be available through June 2022 to help pay for rainscaping practices (half of the cost up to $300 per homeowner). Anyone interested in a site assessment now can request one from a program partner. Contact Kelly Goward for more information: kgoward@the-macc.org

Landscapers and Land Managers

We will offer an advanced training session for landscapers, land managers and others interested in learning more about installing and maintaining rainscaping practices. We are still developing program details, but training will be modeled after an 8-hour certification that is part of the LGROW Grand River Rainscaping. Green stormwater infrastructure professionals will lead the training that will include both a classroom and outdoor portion.