Five years ago, the Friends of Scenic Lodi Valley saw the opportunity to partner with the Lodi Park Commission, the Wisconsin DOT and the Wisconsin DNR in designing and building the first large scale rain garden in Wisconsin, as part of the reconstruction of Hwy.113 in 2002. A rain garden is simply a garden which absorbs stormwater runoff from roof tops and streets, and is becoming a popular means of reducing stormwater runoff.
In Lodi, our concern with the reconstruction project was that Hwy. 113 passed directly next to Spring Creek. Spring Creek is a beautiful spring fed, cold water trout stream. Our hope was that by building a rain garden, we could reduce the amount of stormwater and pollution flowing into the creek from the highway and neighboring homes, and also cool down the warm stormwater runoff. You see, stormwater can drastically harm trout habitat.
Well, we all went forward with the project and located the rain garden in Lodi’s Veterans Memorial Park. The DOT graciously agreed to build the rain garden and local volunteers would plant and care for it. Last year after 2 years of construction work was completed, volunteers planted over 4000 prairie plants. Today, not only are we reducing and cooling the stormwater entering Spring Creek, but we also have one of the most beautiful prairie gardens, with some plants over 10 feet tall and attracting countless wild birds and insects.
To add to the excitement of the rain garden, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the DNR received a $50,000 grant from the US Government to perform research on the effectiveness of the rain garden to reduce stormwater runoff. Already we have had over 100 scientist from across the world visit our rain garden. Soon the data being gathered from the research and maybe even a web cam will be added to the USGS’s web site for all to view.
To date the Lodi Park Commission has partnered with The Friends of Scenic Lodi Valley, the DOT, DNR, USGS, the University of Wisconsin, the UW-Extension. Please stop by and see our Rain Garden in Lodi. It is located in Veterans Memorial Park, which is at the intersection of State Hwy. 113 and Pleasant Street
Team Leader: Ron Martin