Ocean Friendly Gardens, HOW
September 26 2016

Getting (Rain) Barreled On The Jersey Shore

by Eileen Althouse, Co-Coordinator for Ocean Friendly Gardens in the Jersey Shore Chapter

Unlike our counterparts on the west coast who are starved for rain, we tend to get quite a bit along the Jersey Shore. Unfortunately, this leads to run-off, which can lead to problems in our coastal waterways. That’s why we started doing rain barrel workshops.

It is all part of our Ocean Friendly Gardens Program, which is aimed at transforming your landscape to conserve water, prevent polluted runoff, and let water soak into soil before reaching our waterways. An OFG does this by applying CPR: Conservation, Permeability and Retention (learn more here). This latest workshop took place last month at the Rutgers University Cooperative Extension building in Toms River, with the help of Steve Yergeau of the Rutgers UC Extension program.

He led a group of 22 Ocean County residents interested in using rainwater as irrigation and preventing runoff. He explained why rain barrels are a great resource for reducing run-off and saving water that can then be used to water plants, clean your car, and more. Each rain barrel saves about 1,400 gallons of water per year, so if each of the 22 attendees installed 1 barrel, we could help prevent 30,800 gallons of run-off from ending up in the ocean and bays. Since each barrel is 55 gallons, and 1 inch of rain falling on an 800 square foot roof can generate 500 gallons of water, the overflows is directed into the landscape. (Meaning, you connect a hose to the spigot near the top of the barrel, then place the other end of the hose in the landscape, i.e., into your dry creekbed/swale or basin.)