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U.S. EPA and City of North Charleston Construct Rain Garden for Chicora-Cherokee Community Expand Conversation on environmentalism, urban water quality and Green Jobs in Urban Communities

Release Date: 06/06/2011
Contact Information: Davina Marraccini, 404-562-8293 or 404-387-4368 (cell),

(North Charleston, S.C. – June 5, 2011) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, City of North Charleston and River Network, and attendees of the National River Rally today, will construct a new community rain garden at the Gussie Green Community Center in North Charleston, S.C. A unique collaboration between local and national organizations, the project will include the installation of rain barrels and the planting of a rain garden which aid in the removal of pollutants from runoff though natural physical, chemical and biological processes. Local residents, youth and volunteers were on-hand to assist with construction—furthering the conversation on environmentalism and the growth potential of green jobs.

“Stormwater can add pollution to aquatic habitats across the Southeast, threatening fish and wildlife that depend on them. Stormwater pollution can also contaminate food, drinking water supplies and recreational waterways, and increase risks to public health,” said Stan Meiburg, EPA Region 4 Deputy Regional Administrator. “Anyone can help prevent stormwater pollution by creating a rain garden.”

Rain gardens capture runoff from impervious areas such as roofs and driveways and allow it to seep slowly into the ground, filtering out pollutants including fertilizer, pesticides, oil, heavy metals and other chemicals that are carried with rain water. These pollutants are absorbed by the soil, mulch and plants and removed through the natural biological and chemical process. In addition, rain gardens can help preserve nearby streams and lakes by reducing the amount of runoff and filtering pollutants.

“The Gussie Community Rain garden is a wonderful opportunity for local youth and residents to play an active role in transforming their neighborhoods,” said Ed Barfield, Recreation Director for the City of North Charleston. “Today’s event will not only plant the seed on the importance of green jobs, but will hopefully create a new generation of environmental leaders in the North Charleston community.”

The Gussie Green Community Center is located in the Chicora-Cherokee community. The development of the rain garden will add value to the community’s efforts to improve their urban environment and economic development. In addition to protection from stormwater runoff, today’s rain garden installation will be an educational experience for local youth and residents to learn more about green job opportunities including environmental management for local parks and recreation services.

Today’s event was a cooperative collaboration between EPA, the City of North Charleston, SC Parks and Recreation Department and River Rally 2011, an annual outreach and educational event run by the non-government organization River Network.

Stormwater is one of the most widespread challenges to water quality in the nation. Large volumes of polluted stormwater degrade our nation’s rivers, lakes and aquatic habitats and contribute to downstream flooding. In addition to rain gardens, effective green infrastructure tools and techniques include green roofs, permeable materials, alternative designs for streets and buildings. EPA will continue to work with communities to identify and implement green approaches to control stormwater.

River Network is leading a national watershed protection movement that includes nearly 2,500 state, regional and local grassroots organizations. Over the course of two decades, River Network has assisted tens of thousands grappling with water and environmental health problems. It is headquartered in Portland, OR, with offices in Vermont, Maryland, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Utah and Idaho.

For more information on the River Network, please visit:

For more information on rain gardens, please visit:

For more information on EPA’s Urban Waters Program, please visit: