Ever wondered what happens to rainwater after it flows into those holes in the side of the street, called storm drains? In Los Angeles, stormwater that enters storm drains flows through the storm drain system into the Los Angeles River, which eventually outlets into the ocean. In urban and suburban neighborhoods, stormwater that eventually goes into the ocean picks up lots of pollutants like trash, pet waste, and oil and grease as it travels through our neighborhoods over hard surfaces like streets and sidewalks. This is a big problem for fish, birds, and other animals and plants that live in our rivers, streams, and oceans. Stormwater can also cause flooding problems, and it’s no fun to wade through dirty water on your way to school or work!
Swale built as part of the Elmer Avenue Neighborhood Retrofit Demonstration Project.
Enter green infrastructure. Green infrastructure is a nature-based approach to stormwater management that uses landscape design to mimic the slow, spread, and sink functions of a natural watershed. Green infrastructure improves water quality and reduces flooding by capturing and filtering stormwater runoff, rather than allowing it to flow off hard surfaces and eventually into other water bodies. Many kinds of green infrastructure, such as the swale pictured above, use layers of different materials such as rocks, soil, and filter fabric to create a natural water filter that removes pollutants from dirty stormwater as it percolates into the ground. For this week’s #SummerScienceFriday, we show you how to create a natural filter like the ones used in green infrastructure at home!
Visit www.watershedhealth.org/living-laboratories to learn more about green infrastructure and how it helps keep our neighborhoods, rivers and oceans clean, reduces flooding, and increases green space and local groundwater supply! #RedesignLA