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The 2015 resurfacing of the UC Cooperative Extension Office parking lot provided an opportunity to create a bioswale demonstration project. Located in the center of the parking lot, the bioswale demonstrates the principles of Low Impact Development (LID) specifically a bioretention basin to manage stormwater runoff. The bioswale with its sloping sides slows, filters and retains rainwater which flows from the building’s roof across the parking lot and into a storm drain at the corner of the lot. Without the infiltration basin, the storm drain was often overwhelmed resulting in water runoff down the street. The plants used in the bioswale were chosen based on their location and degree of water tolerance.   The plants toward the center of the bioswale tolerate standing water whereas those at the top of the slopes withstand runoff but without ponding. Other plant requirements included attractive appearance, lack of invasive root growth and low maintenance. The principles of Low Impact Development can be applied to a home landscape with the goal of responsible rainwater management.

Purpose: To display and demonstrate one method of Low Impact Development (LID) using landscaped areas to slow, treat, retain, and infiltrate stormwater runoff.


bioswale picture

Plant Guidance for Bioretention


2015/16 Accomplishments:

 Design completed

  1. Physical construction completed
  2. Planting partially completed
  3. Added new signage
  4. Master Gardener Committee for maintenance/education formed

 2016/17 Goals:

 Finish planting bioswale

  1. Monitor and adjust irrigation for ideal plant survival and consistency with water conservation goals of the Demonstration Garden
  2. Develop Interpretive Resources and work with Signage Committee to develop
  3. Hold at least one educational workshop/training session on the use of bioretention as a method of low impact development
  4. Develop plan for expansion of the bioswale to the area north of the parking lot