Raingardens at UNCW

Purpose & Partnerships

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 Draingardenovertimerive. 

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 Monday, June 17, 2019

Request a Tour

You can request a tour of the raingardens and other stormwater best management practices on UNCW's campus by emailing sustainability@uncw.edu


There are several rain gardens on UNCW's campus. The two below are the outcome of the 319 EPA grant given to NC Coastal Federation in partnership with Heal Our Waterways and UNCW Sustainability.

DePaolo Hall

Two larger gardens can be found on the DePaolo Hall greens facing the Fisher Student Union. The parking lot between DePaolo and the Student Union also hosts pervious surface surrounding one of the prominent storm drains. 

DeLoach Hall

The DeLoach rain gardens are situatied between the building and Randall Parkway. These are elongated rain gardens surrounding a storm drain.


Native plants that thrive in rain gardens were chosen for these locations. Although the plant species may change over the years, there is a sign at each location with a picture of the current plants for easy identification.

purple cone flower
black eyed susan - yellow
joe pye weed  - purple/pink narrow flowers
narrow leaf sunflower (aka swamp sunflower) - yellow
beauty berry -shrub w/berries
purple muhly grass - no flowers, but pink/purple tips
juniper "grey owl" 
blue wild indigo (baptisa) - blue/purple
dwarf palmetto (sable minor)
sweet flag - no flower, not native
guara - pink/white
butterfly weed - orange
crinium lilly - not native 
cardinal flower - red
swamp coreopsis - yellow
blue flag iris - blue/purple
Jewelweed - red/orange
Carolina phlox - purple
Ironweed - purple/pink
Climbing Aster - pink
Brilliant Chokeberry