Watauga High School Rain Garden—A Community Partnership
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Ongoing urban development in the Town of Boone has meant increasing coverage of pavement and other impervious surfaces. Local tributaries of the South Fork New River, like Hardin Creek, show symptoms of “urban stream syndrome,” such as flashy flows when it rains, accelerated channel erosion, water quality concerns, and poor quality habitat that supports only a small number of tolerant aquatic organisms. A group of community partners—including university, public agency, and non-profit representatives—are working together on watershed improvement efforts. We recently completed installation of a bioretention basin on the Watauga High School (WHS) campus, which drains to Hardin Creek. The WHS Rain Garden drains about 3800 sqft of parking lot. Though this is a small portion of runoff that flows to Hardin Creek, this rain garden has great educational value as a demonstration project. Located in front of the school by the athletic fields, the rain garden is visible to WHS students and their families as well as visitors to the campus. We hope it will inspire lots of people to think differently about how we manage runoff, so that we can protect the values of our waterways that we all care about.