On March 11 more than 100 people attended a groundbreaking ceremony for a rain garden on the property of Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in Brentwood. Expected to be completed this summer, the Mount Calvary Rain Garden will catch and slow the movement of stormwater from the church property into Deer Creek. It will also filter the stormwater, which will decrease water pollution.
The garden will contain over 10,000 square feet of native plants and will be located at the western end of a large field just north of the church. The field slopes toward residences where stormwater runoff has caused flooding. The garden will be installed in a ditch that was dug by the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District (MSD) to protect residences from flooding.
Susan McCrary, an engineer with MSD, said the rain garden will serve multiple functions. “On the surface it will look like a garden and underneath it will act as a filter,” she said. “Because the underlying soils here are very high-plastic clay, stuff just doesn’t soak into it very well. Because of that we had to use some underdrains to make sure it drains well. It takes that flow, filters it through so you clean up the water and slow down the water. So you have a water quality benefit and a water quantity benefit to what ends up in Deer Creek.”
At the groundbreaking were representatives from 13 organizations that are participating in the project. They include MSD, Missouri Botanical Garden, Deer Creek Watershed Alliance, Washington University, City of Brentwood, Mount Calvary, East-West Gateway Council of Governments, Missouri Department of Conservation, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Operation Brightside, Hartke Nursery, Mabel Dorn Reeder Foundation and Eco Works Unlimited.
Mount Calvary Lutheran Church President Michael Murphy said the church is a very willing partner in the project. “Construction of this rain garden is consistent with our mission to serve,” he said. “We believe we serve God by serving the people that we encounter in our daily lives here in Brentwood and beyond. We’re also aware that our neighbors unfortunately have been troubled by stormwater issues and we are very pleased that we can help bring a solution to these problems.”
Murphy added, “Although the primary purpose of the garden is water management, we hope that as it matures into a place of beauty, it will become part of the greater community as a place of quiet reflection, perhaps prayer; as an outdoor classroom; as a community resource; and a source of environmental information concerning the remarkable capabilities with which God has blessed our world.”