By JOHN KLINE
THE GOSHEN NEWS
GOSHEN — The Greater Elkhart County Stormwater Partnership is once again promoting its popular Rain Garden and Rain Barrel Incentive Program.
For those who qualify, the program reimburses homeowners up to $50 per rain barrel with a maximum of two rain barrels per residence, as well as up to $250 toward the cost of plants for rain gardens.
“Over the last three years, this program has helped 153 homeowners in Elkhart County install 220 rain barrels and 22 rain gardens,” said Eric Kurtz, stormwater coordinator for the Elkhart County Soil and Water Conservation District. “That’s a great reduction of stormwater runoff every time it rains, and a wonderful commitment by residents of Elkhart County.”
As part of the program kickoff this year, three upcoming workshops have been scheduled in order to provide information for residents who want to install rain barrels or rain gardens on their property.
The workshops, which are free and open to the public, are currently scheduled to take place on:
• March 14 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Studebaker Park Pavilion in Elkhart;
• April 23 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Elkhart County Historical Museum, Bristol; and
• Aug. 22 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Purdue Extension Conference Room, Goshen (Elkhart County Fairgrounds).
To take advantage of the program, the first step is to apply, with approval given on a first-come, first-served basis while funds last.
In addition, applicants must also attend a workshop on the practice they wish to install in order to qualify for reimbursement.
“The program is open to anyone in Elkhart, Goshen, Bristol, or unincorporated areas of Elkhart County,” Kurtz said. “These are the areas where residents pay a stormwater fee to fund the partnership’s programs.”
Rain barrel applicants who have been pre-approved and attended the required workshop are asked to submit receipts and a photo of the installed practice. Reimbursements will take place in the order they are received while funds last.
Those wishing to install rain gardens will also be required to have a partnership staff member visit their site and approve their rain garden plans before they move ahead with installation. All funded practices must be maintained for five years.
“Rain gardens and rain barrels have received a lot of attention recently,” Kurtz said, “and we hope that this new program will help them become even more widespread in Elkhart County.”
For more information on the program or to receive an application, call Kurtz at 574-533-3630, ext. 3, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information and application forms can also be found by visiting the Elkhart County SWCD office located on the Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds, 17746-B C.R. 34, Goshen, or by visiting the stormwater partnership website at www.stormwaterelkco.org.