The Tarrant Regional Water District’s innovative landscaping project that treats stormwater as an asset, not a burden, recently won two awards in the City of Fort Worth’s 2020 Environmental Excellence Awards.
TRWD RainScapes, a 175,000-square-foot landscaping effort that uses bioswales, permeable surfaces and native and adaptive plants to manage stormwater runoff, was given the Fort Worth Friendly Landscape award and Stormwater Innovation award at a virtual ceremony last week.
Built on its Fort Worth campus, RainScapes is an example of how commercial and residential landowners alike can efficiently, economically and ecologically protect water quality by using low-impact development methods to manage stormwater runoff.
“The TRWD RainScapes are a way for the District to showcase how landowners can create their own stormwater treatment train,” said Aaron Hoff, watershed program manager. “We use ‘green’ stormwater infrastructure that harnesses natural processes to improve water quality, encourage water conservation, and reduce runoff volume. Our goal is to show everyone that there’s more to low-impact development than just being visually appealing.”
RainScapes begins by capturing runoff from rooftops. From there, it is either stored in three 5,000-gallon cisterns for irrigation use or directed to meandering rock channels and bioswales that allow sediment in the water to settle before flowing into rain gardens and reconstructed wetlands.
Over 170 water-wise native or adaptive plants exist throughout RainScapes, which provides food and habitat for waterfowl, songbirds and insect species. Thanks to this diversity, sections of the RainScapes have been designated as a certified wildlife habitat and as a pollinator waystation.
The District offers tours of its campus to show developers and homeowners how these landscape systems can be used on their own properties, not only enhancing their beauty but often increasing their property value and saving them money in the long run.
In all, 79 companies were honored by the City for their compliance with wastewater regulations. The awards have been handed out since 1999. The city’s water utility and code compliance department sponsor the awards.