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Published on Thursday, February 12, 2015

After a successful round of rainscaping projects in 2014, the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District (MSD)  announced the 2015 Full Round of rainscaping grants to property landowners, such as private residences, community organizations, schools, churches, etc. This year, MSD will offer between 40 and 50 grants up to $3,000 a piece as part of MSD Project Clear’s $100 million investment in rainscaping projects. MSD Project Clear’s Rainscaping Small Grants Program encourages the public to use simple techniques on their properties to reduce the impact of stormwater on our sewer system.

Applications will be accepted February 6 through March 20, 2015. Applications for the Small Grants Full Round must be within the focus area, the green area on the map. All applicants must attend one of four MSD Project Clear Workshops held in February and early March at MSD administrative offices. A larger map of the focus area, Small Grants Workshop dates and the application can be found at http://www.projectclearstl.org/get-the-rain-out/rainscaping-small-grants-program/.

In the fall of 2014, eight rainscaping projects were successfully completed in a trial round. These organizations will serve as examples and mentors for the 2015 Full Round grantees. MSD has partnered with the Missouri Botanical Garden to assist landowners with their projects from the application and design process through completion of the project.

What is Rainscaping?

Used effectively, rainscaping can reclaim stormwater naturally, reduce sewer overflows, and minimize basement backups. The purpose of the MSD Project Clear Rainscaping Small Grants Program is to reduce the volume of stormwater in our combined sewer system by installing landscaping that helps capture rain where it falls, allowing water to run off-site. Rainscaping can also be employed to solve a drainage problem, increase aesthetic appeal, improve property values, and attract birds and butterflies, in addition to other benefits.

Rainscaping practices can include features such as rain gardens, bioretention cells, pervious pavement, green roofs, etc. to slow down and soak up the rainwater before it gets to the sewer. MSD Project Clear has designed and built a number of pilot projects predominately in MSD’s Bissell Watershed focus area to analyze which features work best in specific geographic areas.