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Stormwater Retention & Being a Good Neighbor


During my canvasses of our Ward 3 neighborhoods, the second most common concern I hear from Prairie Village residents, after the neighborhood design standards (link coming soon), is drainage or, really, stormwater retention.

To each of these residents, lack of stormwater retention effects them in slightly different ways. It might be neighbor A’s sump pump or downspout draining into neighbor B’s side yard. Or it might be that neighbor A’s lot is at a higher elevation and their rainwater is rushing down the hill to puddle in neighbor B’s yard or backing up against neighbor B’s foundation and leaking into the basement. Or neighbor A’s french drain/perforated drainage trench routing right into neighbor B’s yard to wash out the grass and soil.

There’s a common theme here: neighbors. There’s rarely nefarious intent on the neighbors’ parts. but the reality is, in Prairie Village, if you’re not getting extra water from your neighbor’s property into your yard, then you’re most likely putting water from your yard into your neighbor’s yard! Or, even more likely, it’s both scenarios.

Rain & Flooding Problems

Water follows gravity down through the paths of least resistance, and it doesn’t follow property lines!

Compounding the issue, the rains have been heavy lately. “The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) just announced that the year between May 2018 and May 2019 was the rainiest 12-month period on record in the U.S.” Heavy downpours can devastate communities even if they’re not flooding them everywhere. On our block, the standing water worsens our mosquito problem, too!

Prairie Village Public Works has already identified some of our most flood-prone areas and has several plans in the works to curb flooding in those areas of the City:

What Can Residents Do?

Most of us don’t understand how to adopt stormwater retention practices without great expense. So, what can residents do in their own yards to curb flooding and other problems that doesn’t break the bank? Stormwater is only rain water that has not absorbed into the ground where it lands. So, let’s “contain the rain”!

Contain the Rain

Contain the Rain is a Johnson County reimbursement program for JoCo residents who install sustainable landscape solutions that promote stormwater retention. Each city administers the funding for its individual reimbursement program, and Prairie Village is a participating city!

Cities encourage residents to plant native plants and trees to support the natural ecosystem and provide food for pollinators like bees and butterflies. The reimbursement program will pay applicants up to 50% of eligible expenses.

Here are the available programs that you could do in your yard:

Butterfly on Milkweed
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Terra Cotta Rain Barrel with Flowers on top
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Black Gum Tree
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photo source: Julie Sayers
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Follow the links above at the bulletpoints for lists of ideas, garden templates, workshops and more to help you incorporate this program into your yard and get help covering the costs!

BONUS: Upcoming event

Pollinator & Native Plant Workshop

• JoCo Stormwater Mgmt Program & Bridging The Gap
• Thursday, August 15, 2019 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
• Johnson County Central Resource Library
• 9875 W 87th St, Overland Park, KS 66212

Being a Good Stormwater Neighbor

How can you be a good stormwater neighbor?

  1. Familiarize yourself with how stormwater flows on your own property. Ask yourself: how does water enter and exit my property?
  2. Talk openly and cooperatively with your neighbors to figure out how you can prevent stormwater issues and help resolve existing stormwater problems together.
  3. Research Prairie Village stormwater regulations. Follow the drainage permit requirements. Talk with the Public Works staff. Cliff Speegle, Storm Water Project Manager, was super helpful when I had questions for him, and he even made an appointment to come over and look at our property in person.

So, let me know if you have any stormwater or Contain the Rain questions. I still have questions myself, and I’m still researching. I want to be a good stormwater neighbor, too! If we just don’t ever forget that our activities on our own property can adversely affect our neighbor’s property, we should be good. 👍

Your friendly PV Ward 3 Council Candidate,

#ShowUp
#Breathe
#DoYourBest
#BeKind

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