work underway on a water-discharge structure we designed for poor soil conditions
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design of campus rainwater garden

design of campus rainwater garden
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University of Minnesota
Duluth, Minnesota

basin serves as model for practices throughout city

As part of a citywide effort to reduce runoff entering Lake Superior, the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) hired Barr to design a rainwater garden on its campus. The project site is adjacent to a five-acre parking lot that generates a significant amount of runoff with most flowing into Oregon Creek, a trout stream.

We designed a large rainwater garden basin that filters water and uses heavy clay soils to resist infiltration into the ground. In addition to filtering, the basin also slows the rate of runoff and cools the water before it enters the creek, reducing the impact on the trout habitat. The design replaced several feet of soil with drain tiles and planting soil. Ornamental perennial flowers, native wildflowers, and grasses were planted and bounded by a sinuous retaining wall.

To deal with parking-lot sand runoff from snowmelt during the winter and spring, Barr also designed a pre-treatment basin with a concrete structure to capture the sand so that UMD can scoop it out.