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At MBGNA through the use of bioengineering or "soft engineering" techniques, we are addressing many of our erosion control issues using live plant material, structures built of natural materials, and landscaping solutions. This offers a more aesthetically pleasing solution as well as greater ecological and habitat value than "hard engineering" techniques which often involve concrete and steel structures or piping water underground.
For example, the Nichols Arboretum poses a special challenge with storm water management and erosion control. With steep and complex topography, increasing areas of impervious surfaces "up-hill", and a long section of the Huron River flowing through our property, we face a significant problem. Our soft engineering solutions now highlight some of our most beautiful and highly visited areas in the Arb; the Gateway Garden and the Riverfront Landing.
There are a number of erosion control and stormwater managment techniques that you can practice at home. For instance, the installation of a rain barrel on each of your gutter downspouts allows you to collect rooftop rainwater to be used at a later time for watering your flower or vegatable garden. Rain barrels are available for sale at Matthaei Botanical Gardens Gift Shop.
You might also consider planting a rain garden. Featured Article/DIY Project - Rain, Rain, You Can Stay! Master gardener, Monica Milla tells all there is to know about rain gardens! This article was featured in the Spring 2006 Newsletter. Click here to download (PDF)
If you'd like to learn more about our Erosion Control Projects in the Arb or find out how to help, please contact us!