rain garden

Volunteers planted a rain garden in Port Elgin on Monday alongside the Gaspereax River in hopes of preventing localized flooding. (Tori Weldon/CBC)

A not-for-profit organization based in Sackville is planting three rain gardens this summer in the Tantramar region in hopes of preventing localized flooding.

EOS Eco-Energy executive director, Amanda Marlin, describes the rain gardens as a low maintenance, low cost way for communities to reduce flooding.

"With climate change the forecast is for more intense storms, happening more often so they're a way of dealing with storm water runoff and localized flooding which we see a fair amount of throughout Tantramar," Marlin said. 

'The idea is to hopefully see more people plant them on their own properties.' - Amanda Marlin

She says strategically placed rain gardens can absorb between 30 and 40 per cent more water than the average lawn.

"Plant the garden with native species of grasses, reeds, rushes and flowering plants that are able to take up a lot of water and also their deep roots help break up the soil."

Marlin says a rain garden should be a mix of plants and flowers that love the water including spotted Joe-Pye weed and black-eyed Susans.

"So the rain garden is a way of collecting rain water either off of your lawn or the roof or the parking lot or the street and you catch that water and let it absorb naturally into the ground."

The first garden is being planted in Port Elgin by a group of volunteers, including Kevin Barrett, alongside the Gaspereaux River.

"I actually did some research over the weekend and it's a really interesting thing to do," said Barrett. "I think I might actually do a little bit for my house."

Marlin says it is more beneficial to have many small rain gardens, as opposed to one large one.

Rain gardens are also planned for Dorchester and Memramcook this summer. Three were planted in Sackville in 2013.

"We are also going to be giving away some free plants this summer," Marlin said. "The idea is to hopefully see more people plant them on their own properties."