Surfrider’s Ocean Friendly Gardens (OFG) program offers simple and beautiful nature-based solutions to protect clean water and support resilient coasts and communities. OFGs restore the natural functions of healthy watersheds by contouring landscapes for rainwater retention, directing water back into the ground instead of storm drains. The extensive root systems of native plants help naturally filter pollutants and sponge up extra water while restoring biodiversity to our urban landscapes.
By returning nature to our urban spaces, OFGs support climate resiliency goals by sequestering carbon, reducing air and water pollution, and avoiding climate emissions from energy-intensive maintenance practices. OFGs provide an opportunity to build equitable access to nature within neighborhoods and communities that lack green space while empowering volunteers with the skills to grow a more resilient future.
For more information or questions:
Kathryn Dressendorfer, Southern California Ocean Friendly Gardens Coordinator
Surfrider chapters use OFGs to build awareness of the connection between how we care for our yards and public spaces and the resulting health and resilience of our local waterways and beaches.
OFGs can be anywhere, whether you live inland or at the beach. Any yard, park, or community green space can help protect clean water by using the watershed approach to reduce pollution that harms our waterways and coasts.
OFGs work as green infrastructure to better prepare our communities for storm events, reducing local flooding and preventing runoff from overwhelming storm drain and sewer systems. Rainwater is directed back into the soil to naturally filter pollutants and recharge groundwater supplies.
OFGs apply CPR – Conservation, Permeability and Retention – to landscapes, hardscapes and streets. They allow soil to act like a sponge to help restore the helpful functions of watersheds like protecting local water supplies and preventing pollution from reaching the ocean. They also reduce flooding during storm events, pull carbon from the air and into plants and soil, and create wildlife habitat (above is a typical OFG and below is a curb cut flowing into a bio-swale).
OFGs apply what is coming to be known around the country as the watershed approach. The principles are the same: healthy, living soil; retain rainwater; climate-appropriate plants; efficient supplemental irrigation as needed.
Plants: support wildlife & resilient habitat
Water & Irrigation: conserve water & avoid wasteful runoff
Healthy, Living Soil: sponge up water & filter pollutants
Redirect & Soak Up Rain: prevent runoff & stormwater pollution
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