Soak it Up!

Water that soaks into the ground is filtered by the soil or taken up by plants, resulting in less pollution entering rivers and lakes. This makes it safer for swimming, habitat and drinking water quality downstream. Letting the water soak into the ground recharges the aquifer and protects valuable groundwater.

Switch to permeable pavement

Next time you’re resurfacing the driveway or patio, consider using permeable paving or gravel. Permeable paving provides a hard stable surface, while at the same time allowing rain to percolate down through narrow gaps and gravel into the ground, recharging the aquifer. Some pavers are also designed to allow grass or other low growing species to thrive. Learn more about permeable pavement.

Garden with native plants

Native plants intercept stormwater, absorb water via the roots, and adapt better to excessive moisture and drought. Prairie Originals program has a comprehensive list of native trees and shrubs.

Build a rain garden

A rain garden is a depression, planted with thirsty native plants,  that collects rainwater runoff from hard surfaces like roofs, driveways, walkways, parking lots, and compacted lawn areas. The next time you’re planning a new garden bed or landscaping your yard consider using this method to protect water quality in your nearest lake or river. Visit for instructions and to click through examples of established rain gardens.