California State University, Sacramento Sacramento State Leader

Campus stormwater project nurtures nearby American River

Rain Gardens Some of the most innovative and environmentally friendly features of the Sacramento State landscape are hidden in plain sight – a tidy garden sprouting drought-tolerant plants over here, a walkway with a frothy-looking, porous surface over there.

They are LID (low-impact development) devices installed in seven locations across the campus that collect and filter 3.6 million gallons of stormwater each year, reducing the University’s impact on the nearby American River. As a result of the award-winning project, led by Sac State’s Office of Water Programs (OWP) using state clean-water funds, the sediment and metal loads flowing into the river from the campus are down by 60 percent to 90 percent on average.

In addition, the LID devices – including planters, rain gardens, bioswales, and porous pavement – collect rainwater to replenish campus groundwater supplies for irrigation.

“The whole project is about protecting the American River,” says Maureen Kerner, research engineer with OWP. “We’re protecting the river’s beneficial uses, including the municipal water supply, the aquatic habitat, boating, swimming, and fishing.”
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