RCC Rain Gardens and Bioswales

Proposed Bioswale area at RCC
Proposed Bioswale area at RCC

Sustainable Rogue Valley, in conjunction with other funders, is planning to construct Raingardens and Bioswales on the Rogue Community College property in Grants Pass, Oregon. Raingardens are made to collect rainwater in ponds and maintain a healthy plant community while encouraging water to slow down and filter into the ground. They produce a pleasing environment while providing a vital function in the watershed. Plant communities can be focused on butterfly migration, bees and insects, as well as firewise resistant plants.

Bioswales are made to collect rainwater runoff and filter through wetlands where unique wetland plants are growing. These plants will help break down pollutants such as oil from parking lots and roadways as they filter into the ground during runoff. Bioswales contain organic matter that acts as a sponge along with plants that hold and break down contaminants from impervious landscapes such as parking lots and roads.

The wetlands on RCC campus will collect runoff, filter and clean contaminants, and send the water downstream or into the ground to enter the natural drainage systems. There are several wetland sites planned in this project that will receive runoff in a series of bioswales designed around the existing culverts and drainage patterns. Signs posted onsite will explain the project and its goals, showing the pattern of runoff, types of wetland plants growing, and how this could help clean water and improve watershed health. We hope this demonstration site will inspire others to build Raingardens and Bioswales to improve water quality and beautify the landscape.

Sustainable Rogue Valley is an affinity group to the Grants Pass Universal Universalists, and is associated with Rogue Community College Faculty and Facilities Department. SRV has received funding from The Ashland Food Coop and is also applying for restoration grants from Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board through the Rogue Valley Small Grant Team. Support is sought from Rogue River Watershed Council as well as Rogue Basin Partnership, and the Rogue Community College Green Team. This will be a collaborative effort to bring communities together to show how sustainable practices can benefit everyone.

Future bioswale at RCC

Bees of 2016 of Southwestern Oregon

The following is by Rogue River resident Travis Owen:
This is an article I wrote about the (mostly native) bees I photographed this year in the Rogue Valley, at least 21 species in 4 families are represented in photos along with some personal observations and life histories. One particularly interesting discovery, bees are basically fuzzy vegan wasps that developed branched hairs adapted to carrying pollen to feed their young (true wasps have simple hairs and are, for all intensive purposes, carnivores).
Travis Owen  — The Amateur Anthecologist


When most people hear the word bee, images of honeybees (Apis mellifera, Apidae) and the associated tales of declines come to mind. However, bees are much more diverse and interesting than the honeybee leads one to believe. There are at least thirty-five hundred species of native bees in America north of Mexico alone, and over twenty-thousand described species worldwide (probably many more). They live diverse lifestyles, but unlike the honeybee most live solitary lives. A similar variance can be seen in wasps, particularly predatory wasps which bees evolved from….

Moving to Local Sustainable Food Production


Our next Sustainable Rogue Valley meeting on Sunday Dec. 4 features guest speaker Gif Gates, Manager of Raptor Creek Farm.
Gif will share about the farm and the Josephine County Food Bank’s vision and strategy for long term food security. Come hear about the history of Raptor Creek Farm, their clients and the statistics of food insecurity in Jo Co, the youth and senior programs at the farm, current development and future projects, community involvement at the food bank farm, how folks can get involved, and more!
Due to the holidays, our next Sustainable Rogue Valley meeting will be on Sunday December 4 (not our usual 4th Sunday schedule)
We now meet at the new UU church, 129 NW E street, GP, 12:30 to 2pm. 
It’s easy to find, across the street from Mamosa’s!