One Awbury Road
Philadelphia, PA 19138

Stormwater Bioswale, Restored Wetland, Wildflower Meadow, Rain Garden

Awbury Arboretum’s 55-acre property demonstrates numerous techniques for capturing and filtering rainwater by natural processes rather than sending dirty runoff into the already overloaded sewer system. These demonstration projects also serve as an outdoor classroom for hundreds of local schoolchildren each year, reinforcing the merits of stormwater management and watershed stewardship.

1. Stormwater Bioswale: Large troughs were dug in the soil parallel to Washington Lane and lined with deep-rooted, water-loving plants. Dirty street runoff flows through specially designed stormdrains into these troughs where it is absorbed and filtered by the plants and soil. (See photo on the right.)

2. Restored Wetland: A human-made, linear stream channel was restored to its original form, a wide, flat expanse that allows the stream water to spread out and seep slowly into the ground. Wetland plants and trees were planted to aid in absorbing and filtering the water. (See photo on the left.)

3. Planted Wildflower Meadow: Short-trimmed lawn grasses with shallow root systems and little absorption capability were replaced with long-rooted wildflower plants that absorb large volumes of rainwater and provide habitat for native animals and insects.

4. Rain Garden: In a low, grassy area prone to flooding during rain, the soil was mixed with gravel and sand to provide better drainage, and then replanted with deep-rooted, water-loving plants. Now, instead of the rainwater flowing across the grass and into the adjacent storm drain, it is captured in this bowl-shaped garden and cleaned naturally by beautiful, flowering plants. (See photo on the right.)

See Awbury Arboretum’s Executive Director, Karen Anderson, discuss stormwater management projects on the property in the video below!

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