Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority

Rain gardens

Plant a rain garden for water quality and to reduce flooding
Plant a rain garden for water quality and to reduce flooding

Rain Garden Funding Resources

Download form, Rain Garden Funding Application Form - Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority and Municipality of Bluewater, at this link: 
Download list, Local Contractors Who Have Taken Rain Garden Design and Construction for Professionals Course Endorsed by Landscape Ontario, at this link:

Bayfield residents encouraged to apply for rain garden funding as part of pilot project

New funding to help homeowners install rain gardens on their properties to help manage stormwater and keep water clean

There has been a lot of interest in rain gardens in Bayfield with recent workshops and demonstration gardens at Pioneer Park. Homeowners in Bayfield are now encouraged to apply for funding to help install these gardens on their property.
“Local people suggested rain gardens as a management solution for dealing with urban runoff in the community-based Main Bayfield Watershed Plan,” said Hope Brock, Healthy Watersheds Technician with Ausable Bayfield Conservation. “Now homeowners have this great opportunity to install a rain garden and help protect Lake Huron.”
The Huron County Clean Water Project and the Municipality of Bluewater, through its Blue Flag initiative, have provided funding. The Blue Flag is an international designation awarded to beaches and marinas that meet certain criteria like water quality. The Bayfield Main Beach has flown the Blue Flag since 2010. Funding assistance will cover 50 per cent of the cash costs up to a maximum of $500 per rain garden. There is a limited amount of funding available for a limited number of projects.
Bayfield homeowners interested in receiving funding to create a rain garden on their property should contact a local landscape professional who has received a Landscape Ontario endorsed rain garden certificate (visit the Ausable Bayfield Conservation rain gardens page at this link: Rain Garden Page). Once the contractor has provided a plan and a quote for the garden, the homeowner will need to contact Ausable Bayfield Conservation staff for a site visit to complete the application, which is available online. Grants, subject to approval, are paid out upon the satisfactory completion of the rain garden. Homeowners can apply for funding without a contractor, but preference is given to the applications that use a certified contractor.     
Rain gardens are shallow, sunken gardens. They protect local water quality when they collect, absorb and filter water running off of land during storms. When it rains or when snow melts, water runs off roofs, patios, and driveways. Rain gardens can prevent this water, along with contaminants the runoff picks up, from draining directly into a local storm sewer or nearby watercourses. “Rain gardens provide benefits to water quality,” said Brock. “Rain gardens reduce flooding and erosion, and they can also add beauty to your yard and create habitat.”

Volunteer Opportunity

We need your help ... to plant a rain garden!

The Municipality of Central Huron, in partnership with Ausable Bayfield Conservation, is planting a new rain garden to deal with water running off of land during storms. More than 500 plants need to go into the ground and then the area will need to be mulched.


Friday, June 9, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (Drop in!)


Clinton - CNR Schools on Wheels Museum, 76 Victoria Terrace
To learn more or to let us know you can help contact Hope or Denise at:
519-235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610.

Rain gardens at work

Rain gardens are ...

Rain gardens are shallow, sunken gardens that are designed to collect, capture; soak up, absorb and filter stormwater runoff from roofs, roads, and driveways.

What are the benefits of rain gardens?

Reducing flooding

Provides storage for flood water and helps prevent ditches and sewers from being overwhelmed.

Water quality

Improves water quality by filtering pollutants such as fertilizers, oil, and sediment.


Attracts birds, butterflies, other pollinators.


Adds beauty to the community.

Rain gardens - Helping protect Lake Huron

Why use native plants?

  • Native plants grow naturally in a region and are therefore suited to local growing conditions. 
  • Native plants have deeper root systems that absorb more water. 
  • They are easier to maintain once they are established, and require little to no watering.

How does the rain garden work?

  1. Rainwater and stormwater collect in the depressed garden bed.
  2. Plants absorb water.
  3. Water filters through soil.
  4. Plants grow, providing beauty and habitat in your yard.

Help us monitor the rain garden

  1. Stand in line with the rain garden sign. 
  2. Take a photo of the garden.
  3. Post your picture on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #PioneerRainGarden.

View the photos at Ausable Bayfield Conservation website.

Funding for this project has come from the Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund of the Province of Ontario.

Plant a rain garden

Rain gardens are a great way to green your garden, preserve soil, and reducing water running off of land during storm events.

Planting a rain garden can not only help make your home look beautiful but it can also help to protect the quality and quantity of water in your community.

A rain garden has been described as a shallow, sunken garden designed to collect rainwater. It can collect that rainwater from your roof, shed, driveway, or patio.

A well-designed rain garden that has loose, deep soil can capture water that would otherwise run off of land and carry soil, sediment, and possible pollutants with it.
Rain gardens give homeowners a chance to help protect creeks, rivers, and Lake Huron even if their property is not big enough for a wetland.

A single rain garden may seem like a small thing to do but if more people in the community create these natural gardens they can make a collective difference.

Landscapers with experience in rain garden design can help with the design or you can be creative and do it yourself.

Native species of plants should be used in the rain garden. There are local nurseries and businesses that can have native plants available for purchase.

Local residents creating a rain garden could consider moist perennials that can tolerate drought such as:

  • Swamp Milkweed;
  • Joe-pye Weed;
  • Boneset;
  • Green-headed  Coneflower;
  • Blue vervain;
  • and New Jersey tea.

You might also consider dry perennials that can tolerate rain events such as:

  • Butterfly Milkweed;
  • New England Aster;
  • Sky Blue Aster;
  • Sweet Ox-eye;
  • Wild Bergamont;
  • Black Eyed Susan;
  • Wild geranium.

Your rain garden can help prevent runoff during storm events and that helps to keep contaminants out of your local storm sewer or creek.

Here are some of the benefits of rain gardens:

  • Absorb much more rainwater than a regular patch of lawn
  • Can save money on water bills and lawn care
  • Lower strain on municipal infrastructure
  • Outdoor landscaping features can increase the value of your home
  • Help improve water quality in your local water bodies and reduce flooding and erosion

Rain gardens “work with nature” to manage stormwater as close to its source. 
More rain gardens will help improve and protect the community’s water by reducing the amount of water running off of lawns, fields, driveways, parking lots, and other surfaces. Runoff takes away your soil and it can carry bacteria and chemicals with it. Rain gardens prevent that runoff.

Much of the information contained here is courtesy of Toronto and Region Conservation Authority and their workshop booklet called Greening Your Grounds – A Homeowner’s Guide to Stormwater Landscaping Projects. Contact Ausable Bayfield Conservation for a copy of this booklet.

Keeping water and pollution away from storm sewers helps keep sediment, pathogens, and chemicals out of your local water supply.

For more resources type in ‘wetlands’ in the search box at the top of the Ausable Bayfield Conservation home page or visit this page directly: Wetlands.

Link: Rain garden planting in Bayfield 

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