The Value and Importance of Water Retention on our Land

One of the most valuable things to do for ourselves, future generations and all life on earth, in this climate crisis, is to find ways to capture rainwater on the land to soak into the groundwater and aquifers as it is meant to and regenerate the life of our planet.


“Water Retention Landscapes are the healing impulse urgently required by the Earth and all her creatures. They can and must arise in every place where people regain the courage, strength and also of course, the knowledge needed to create them. (…) We must not get accustomed to a state where something that is actually self-evident appears to us as an unrealistic utopia. A world in which all people have free access to sufficient water, energy and food is completely feasible.”   (Bernd Mueller)



“We humans have the knowledge of how to transform deserts and semi-deserts back into living landscapes traversed by fresh spring water streams. In most cases desertification isn’t a natural phenomenon but the result of incorrect water management on a global scale. Deserts don’t arise because of a lack of rain, but because humanity treats water in the wrong way.”  Source



“There are plenty of ways to hold the rainwater on the land that can be used in various combinations. Creating retention areas can involve building check dams, swales, terraces, deep plowing along the keylines or using land stewardship techniques such as reforestation, organic farming and special pasture management, e.g. Holistic Planned Grazing.The basic principle of a Water Retention Landscape is that no rainwater should run off, but rather infiltrate into the soil where it falls. The absorbed rainwater goes into the aquifers and is purified, energized and mineralized. All outflowing water is spring water, steadily supplying humans, flora and fauna with liquid life – even during long periods without rainfall.”


Key Learnings

  • Water is the missing link for reversing climate change.
  • It’s possible to achieve water autonomy in our region and everywhere in the world.
  • When restoring the natural water cycles, we take the first, indispensable step for restoring ecosystems and lay the foundations for self-sufficiency.
  • Wherever you are, make sure rainwater doesn’t run off, but instead filters into the aquifers.”  Source

Catching Rain Water (Source:

Water Retention Landscape (Source:


Update on RCC Bioswale/RainGarden Project


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The new gravel path is nearly finished and runs from one end of the garden to the other, the boulders have been placed, and four bird houses hung: three have larger holes for Bluebirds or Swallows (most likely violet green), and one is for smaller birds (Chickadees or Nuthatches) (see below).  SRV member Mike Nelson made the houses and worked with Chas to install them.


Plant labels for each of the 27 plant species used in the garden are being made and will be installed soon, so visitors using the trail will be able to identify the different plants growing there. There are 24 different native plant species and 3 non-natives.

An irrigation system is being installed by the RCC grounds crew with the help of project manager Chas Rogers, so we won’t have to worry about losing any of the plants while they are getting established. In two or three years, when they have good root systems put down most of the plants will survive our dry summers with little additional water.

Be sure to mark your calendar for Thursday, April 19th, the day RCC holds it’s Earth Day Celebration from 12 – 2 pm. Sustainable Rogue Valley will have an information table and Chas will be giving tours of the RainGarden!

Volunteers needed to complete the RCC Raingarden Project

16-BioswaleProjectVolunteers Needed for Planting

February 16th – Meet at the Josephine Building parking lot between 10 am and 2 pm

Volunteers Needed for Trail Construction

March 16th – Meet at the Josephine Building parking lot between 10 am and 2 pm

Volunteer opportunities are scheduled for anyone to get involved. Students are welcome and encouraged to experience this project firsthand.

For more info or directions contact the Project Manager, Chas Rogers, at


Rogue Community College and Sustainable Rogue Valley are working together to complete the demonstration Raingarden and Bioswale on the Redwood Campus. This project has been funded by the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board to construct the initial work of digging the drainage basin and filling with mulch and was completed during the summer of 2017 by the local Williams Creek Watershed Council.

Volunteers are needed to help complete the project. Sustainable Rogue Valley is a local concerned group working to find solutions to making our world a more livable place for all. We offer community service projects and education about bioswales, raingardens, and other sustainable ideas. Individuals and local groups interested in getting involved in planting, shaping, and maintaining this active demonstration project can visit our website,, for more information. If you would like to help with completing the Raingarden contact the Project Manager, Chas Rogers, at

Volunteer opportunities are scheduled for anyone to get involved. Students are welcome and encouraged to experience this project firsthand. This winter we will be completing our wetland and flower planting on February 16th. On March 16th we will construct our trail designed to encourage people to walk and discover the project. On Earth Day at Redwood Campus, April 19th we will have tours of the site and plan to install more signs describing the project. Please feel free to show up at the Josephine Building parking lot between 10 am and 2 pm on Feb 16th or March 16th.

Raingardens collect rainwater runoff in basins and ponds encouraging water to slow down and filter through plant roots and seep into the ground. With a healthy and varied plant community, it can produce a pleasing environment while providing a vital function in the watershed. The RCC Raingarden collects runoff from the campus and filters it through a bioswale.

Bioswales are made to collect rainwater runoff and filter through wetlands where unique wetland plants are growing. These plants can 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 collect runoff, filter and clean contaminants from several parking lots, letting water seep into the ground or enter the natural drainage systems. Signs posted onsite help 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.