There are many ways to curb the amounts of excess nutrients entering lakes, rivers and streams – a bioretention system is one of them.  Bioretention systems – also called rain gardens – are  landscape best management practices (BMPs) that use filtration to treat storm water runoff in a depressed area.  They can be implemented in residential areas with trees, shrubs and grasses to catch rainwater during and after a storm.  As the vegetated area receives the water, it filters it through the soil and plants, removing nutrients before the water reaches a water body.

Viewer Tip: According to a recent study, bioretention systems were able to remove 47 to 68 percent of phosphorus from runoff.  Installing a bioretention area near your house can add natural beauty and help protect water quality in local water bodies.  For more information on these systems and how they work, visit bioretention (rain gardens).



Image: There are many ways to control rain water runoff and nutrient pollution at home.

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(Sources:  EPA, “Bioretention (Rain Gardens),”; Hsieh, C. and Davis, A.P., “Multiple-event Study of Bioretention for Treatment of Urban Storm Water Runoff,” 2003; Image courtesy of the EPA.)

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