A rain garden in Sunset Village park

The greenway is being modified to repair the sewer, stop erosion, and handle stormwater.  And yet an obvious part of the solution has been ignored ....


At the last meeting, I asked engineer Lisa Coleman about this.  She said, "If we tried to make improvements in the watershed, we'd never get anything done."

It's not really Lisa's fault ...  She's been given an overly narrow job--fix the ravine.  Period.

What is at fault is a dysfunctional process in the city.  Things are done piecemeal.   Nature is destroyed to save nature.  There's no larger vision.  We need to make changes in the process.

Upstream from the greenway--where the stream runs through the park.

A rain garden for the park

Just upstream from the greenway, there's a park where the stream runs open for a block.  It's pretty here, but the stream is bordered by relatively boring grass.  It could be a stunning, luxuriant, beautiful rain garden filled with flowers!

A small dam below the bridge could help hold back floodwaters. The dam would have a small outlet, so normally no water would pool behind the dam.  But during heavy rain, the pool behind the dam would fill, reducing the strength of floods downstream.  The basin can be enlarged slightly to increase flood retention, without cutting any trees.

This retention basin, doubling as a beautiful garden, can protect our investment in a new sewage line and landscaping downstream in the ravine.


This simple plan doesn't require coordination over a whole part of the city. It's a single small spot in a single park. What's so hard about that?

C'mon, Madison ... get your act together.

A large rain garden at the corner of Struck Street and Watts Road.  A small retention basin in Sunset Village Park could look like this.

Likewise, a large rain garden at the southeast corner of the greenway can take stormwaters from S. Owen Drive before they get into the ravine.

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