Rain Gardens

Capturing rain to help our environment

Creating sustainable public spaces is a priority for the Golden Triangle BID. Since 2012, the BID has built six rain gardens and has converted 12,000 square feet of asphalt and concrete into green space through the Gold Is Green program.

In June 2019, the BID broke ground on ten new rain gardens and nine expanded tree boxes along 19th Street. The project will add more than 4,000 square feet of green space, lining two full blocks on one of the most vibrant corridors in the central business district.

The rain gardens reduce pollution to waterways by capturing stormwater and naturally filtering it before sending the excess that cannot be soaked up by the soil and plants into the sewer system. The filter capacity is 43,000 gallons of runoff per storm.

While contributing to the environmental sustainability of the metropolitan area, the project will also enhance the beauty of 19th Street for thousands of workers and residents and millions of visitors to enjoy.

The rain gardens and expanded tree boxes will be added to both sides of 19th Street between K and M Streets. They will hug four existing rain gardens located at the corners of 19th and L Streets and add abundant green space, native plants, and biodiversity to a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly street with broad sidewalks and considerable outdoor café seating.

The BID’s history of green infrastructure projects includes the installation of a rain garden at the Rhode Island and M Street island in 2012, four rain gardens at the corners of 19th and K Streets in 2014, and a sustainable rainwater harvesting system in Duke Ellington Park in 2017. The rain garden at Rhode Island Avenue and M Street was the first grant-funded project from the city government for a low-impact development project in a commercial district. The four rain gardens located at the corners of 19th and L Streets are recognized as Certified Wildlife Habitat™ by the National Wildlife Federation.

All rain garden projects are made possible through a partnership between the Golden Triangle BID and the DC Department of Energy & Environment with funding from EPA. Support for the 19th Rain Gardens project is also provided by Pepco – An Exelon Company, Rockrose, The Tower Companies, Carr Properties, OTO Development, Wawa and Population Services International.

More About Rain Gardens

Rain gardens are designed to utilize both the rain water that falls onto the site and the runoff from surrounding areas to nourish the soil and plants. During a rainfall, the soil and drought-tolerant plants work together to filter the water that has fallen on the garden area. Storm inlets on the streets also drain water into the rain garden, allowing the plants and soil to filter the street runoff.

To learn more about Phase I of the Duke Ellington Park Renovation and the installation of a sustainable rainwater harvesting system click here.

For more information about the public art by Foon Sham in the rain gardens at the corners of 19th & L Streets, click here.

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