UNCW Creates Rain Gardens to Mitigate Stormwater Runoff

Monday, June 17, 2019

The NC Coastal Federation, UNCW and the City of Wilmington’s Heal Our Waterways initiative have partnered to create rain gardens and other projects on UNCW's campus to help mitigate stormwater runoff. The first phase of the gardens was planted June 17 by volunteers in front of DePaolo Hall and beside Randall Drive. 

This project is a part of a grant to the Coastal Federation to implement stormwater mitigation projects in the Bradley Creek Watershed. UNCW is the largest landowner in this watershed and will be a part of the solution to lessen pollution by redirecting rainwater away from storm drains. 

“Rain gardens help to collect excess water during time of heavy rainfall,” said Kat Pohlman, UNCW’s chief sustainability officer. “While our campus drained well during Hurricane Florence, this is a great opportunity to learn from local experts, including Heal Our Waterways, on how to best utilize these types of gardens.” 

Several successful rain gardens exist around campus already, including one at Tidal Creek spearheaded by lecturer Roger Shew in collaboration with NC State University and one at Catholic Campus Ministries. Several student groups on campus, including Surfrider and Plastic Ocean Project, used grant funding to create a similar garden in the Suite Service Loop space. Additionally, UNCW has acquired five 300-gallon rain barrels and will be implementing pervious pavement solutions over the next few years. 

“UNCW defines itself as North Carolina’s coastal university, so we are passionate about taking care of that environment,” said Pohlman. “We are very lucky that these rain gardens have already received attention from students and faculty alike. I have no doubt our Seahawk community will take great care of these grounds and take pride in what they stand for.” 

-- Christina Schechtman 

People planting a rain garden. Yellow flowers in the foreground.
Volunteers planted rain gardens near DePaolo Hall and beside Randall Drive as part of a project to reduce stormwater runoff.