Niakwa Trail Rain Garden Demonstration Project
Ground has now broken on the new rain garden demonstration project along the Niakwa Trail at Fermor Avenue and St. Anne’s Road in St. Vital. The aim of the garden is to filter rainwater run-off, pollutants, and sediment from the adjacent Superstore parking lot and Niakwa Trail before it flows into the Seine River. Large debris is filtered out as the water flows over stone and sod strips. As run-off hits the garden, it slows down and becomes absorbed by moisture-loving plants. These plants neutralize and convert heavy metals and chemicals into useable nutrients, and allow even smaller sediments to settle out, adding new mineral and organic matter to the planting beds. If the rainstorm is very large, and the garden cannot absorb all of the naturally filtered water, the excess slowly releases into the City’s land drainage system, out-letting in the nearby Seine River.
The garden will be a great urban habitat for birds, insects, and small mammals, providing a great place to nature-watch along the trail in all seasons. Interpretive signage will help visitors understand the function of a rain garden, and show interested users how making their own rain gardens can help manage our rivers in the City. School groups have taken up the call to become stewards of the park. In the coming years they will be monitoring water quality, and maintaining the plants with the help of the Manitoba EcoNetwork and Save our Seine.
HTFC worked with the Manitoba Eco Network and Save Our Seine to bring this project to life. The project has been submitted to Red River Co-op’s Community Spaces Program in the Environmental Conservation category and received $35,000 of funding towards the project from this group. The garden has just been announced as a national finalist for this program. It is eligible for an additional $25,000 of funding if it is chosen as the winner in an online crowdsourced competition that will run from September 14-21, 2015. Please visit http://woobox.com/to9s7n to cast your vote for this project.