Mt. Airy Rain Catchers is a US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) project that enlisted the help of Mt. Airy neighborhood partners to install rain gardens and rain barrels in their yards. EPA's goal is to evaluate how these individual, household actions can improve local water quality. To measure this, EPA will be monitoring the health of local Shepherd Creek before and after the installation of rain barrels and rain gardens.
The Rain Catchers project offered home owners the chance to receive an exciting, natural landscape feature that uses less water, fewer chemicals and, most importantly, less time to maintain than the average lawn. The installation was free of charge including three years of maintenance!
Many Mt. Airy residents chose to have one or more rain barrels installed to collect and store rainfall from the roof. During a rainfall, each barrell collected 55 to 75 gallons of rain water for use in the yard and garden.
The benefits of rain catchers extend beyond the yard to the drainage ways and area streams. When you catch the rain water and let it soak into the ground, less of it will run off onto the hillsides and ditches. Less water running off means less soil erosion, reduced flooding, and better water quality downstream.
This is the largest project of its kind in the country. It is also a pilot program to test an auction-based method of encouraging the public to participate in reducing stormwater runoff and pollution at the household level.