Bourne Accepts Gift Of Rain Gardens From Water Quality Coalition

Bourne Accepts Gift Of Rain Gardens From Water Quality Coalition

From July 9, 2023 Bourne Enterprise – Used with permission

The Pocasset Water Quality Coalition has offered to install rain gardens as green infrastructure in the group’s ongoing efforts to assist in cleaning up the town’s waterways. The rain gardens would be constructed on town property and upon completion will be gifted to the town by the coalition.

The offer to build on town property was approved by the Bourne Select Board during its meeting on
Tuesday, June 6. Coalition President R. Keith Barber explained that the plan is to build three rain
gardens off Circuit Avenue in Pocasset.

“Our objective is to try to control, as much as we can, stormwater that goes into Hen Cove,” Mr.
Barber said.

The coalition’s mission, as stated at its website, is to “restore the water quality of Hen Cove, Barlow’s
Landing harbor, and the inlet of Wings Neck to healthy environmental levels.” The group is “working
toward the day when we have clean, pure saltwater for our families and community to enjoy, as well
as healthy natural marshes and wetlands for our birds and marine wildlife.”

Toward that end, he said, the plan is to build three separate rain gardens on town-owned property,
located along Circuit Avenue. The locations include: across the street from the corner of Park Street
and Circuit Avenue; across from the corner of Bell Buoy Road and Circuit Avenue; and across from
the home at 214 Circuit Avenue, he said.

Rain gardens are depressed areas in landscape where rainwater from roofs, driveways or streets is
collected. The rainwater may contain pollutants that are hazardous to water, such as nitrogen, but that are beneficial to plants. The rain garden can help filter out those pollutants and provide nourishment for plants and wildlife.

Mr. Barber said that rain gardens are highly useful and more important in coastal regions, such as
Cape Cod. He said stormwater moves quickly through the porous, sandy soil found in such areas.
“If you don’t do something to treat it, it goes right into whatever body of water you’re talking about,” he
said; in this case, it is Hen Cove.

The plan, Mr. Barber explained, is for the coalition to install the rain gardens and then gift them to the
town. The project is expected to get underway by the spring 2024. Upon completion of the rain
gardens, the gardens would be donated to the town, but coalition members would continue to work
and maintain them.

Mr. Barber said that the coalition has applied for a grant through the state’s Southeast New England
Program (SNEP). The program was created in 2012 by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
with a goal of restoring and protecting the region’s coastal waters and watersheds.

The coalition’s application to SNEP has moved into the second phase, Mr. Barber said. If accepted,
the funds would cover 67 percent of the cost of the rain gardens project, he said.

“We are cautiously optimistic that we will be awarded the grant,” he said.
Mr. Barber said that Mahoney’s Garden Center in East Falmouth has offered to make a “very
generous donation” to the project. Additional help is being volunteered by the Aptucxet Garden Club,
the Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical High School’s landscaping department and members of the

Town Administrator Marlene V. McCollem said that, for the coalition to move forward with its grant
application, SNEP needs to know that the town approves the use of town-owned land. Ms. McCollem
advised the board to approve a motion to accept the rain gardens as a gift once they are completed.

“That gives Keith and his group the legal authority to move forward with saying they have a
commitment from the town that it’s okay to have it at this location and on this property,” she said.

Ms. McCollem encouraged the board to approve the coalition’s project and donation of the rain
gardens. She said that the green infrastructure provided by the rain gardens will help the town meet
many of its goals relative to stormwater management, including the MS4 initiative and the Pollinator
Pathway Cape Cod program.

As part of the federal Clean Water Act, the EPA issues a municipal stormwater (MS4) permit. Cities
and towns are required to comply with the parameters of the permit in order to discharge stormwater
into waterways and wetlands under federal jurisdiction.

Pollinator Pathway Cape Cod is a regional initiative to increase pollinator-friendly habitats and food
sources for bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinating insects and wildlife across Cape

“We are hitting a lot of our targets with this project,” she said.

The select board agreed and approved a motion to accept the rain gardens as gifts to the town upon
their completion, and a second motion to authorize use of town property for the project.

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