Fulton rain garden tour highlights environmentalism

As the rainforests of the world decline, the Fulton Neighborhood Association is determined to make "rain gardens" thrive at home. The Fulton Rain Garden Tour will showcase five homes incorporating native plants and proactive rainwater management methods Thursday-Monday, July 31-Aug. 3 during daylight hours.

The rain gardens are part of FNA's efforts to help control flooding on Chowen Avenue South and polluted rain-runoffs into Minnehaha Creek and Lake Harriett.

"Instead of contributing to the problem, we're contributing to the solution," Michelle Martin, Fulton Neighborhood Association coordinator said.

Rain garden homeowners receive $500 matching grants distributed by FNA. The group has $23,000 in Neighborhood Revitalization Program funds available for Fulton residents interested in better rainwater control.

The tour highlights rain gardens designed to receive runoff from hard home surfaces (roofs, driveways, etc.) and divert the water to resilient native plants. Grasses are used to filter the sediment- and nutrient-laden water into a shallow depression in the yard. That's where the hardy native plants, with their typically deep (8 to 15 feet) root systems, await to cleanse the water and ease it naturally into the aquifer.

You can stop by during daylight hours at any of the homes on the self-guided tour to inspect their rain gardens:

5240 Beard Ave S.

4852 Chowen Ave S.

5008 Chowen Ave S.

5016 Chowen Ave S.

5241 Chowen Ave S.

Each home will have free, detailed tour guide books available, describing water management techniques and their benefits. People who take the tour will "come away with a working understanding of how a rain garden operates," Martin said.

You can get more information on rain gardents and other rainwater management techniques by visiting the FNA's Web site at www.fultonneighborhood.org.