Can Rain Gardens Help Solve Jersey City Flooding Problems? – The Gothic era
As climate change becomes a threat, weather conditions are becoming more severe. In New Jersey, one way to prevent flooding might be to create rain gardens.
Hurricane Ida reminded people that there is a huge flood problem in the Garden State. As the storm moved through the state, there was severe flooding, especially in urban areas covered in roadways. Streets were flooded and dirty water poured into homes, shops and other buildings.
Hurricane Ida is just the latest in a series of storms that have destroyed properties in New Jersey over the past few years. The educational site Flood Factor says that due to climate change, sea levels are rising, oceans are warming, weather patterns are changing and storms are getting more powerful. These factors lead to more devastating weather events like Ida.
The Jersey City community felt the consequences of not being prepared, and many people saw parts of their homes, as well as property, destroyed. The question arose, what could be done in the future to prevent this?
Effects on Jersey City residents
Jersey City residents who were negatively impacted by Hurricane Ida believe something needs to be done about the flooding situation in Jersey City.
A student from New Jersey City University, Station Rodriguez said, “My bathroom and basement flooded and the metal in my basement was rusty. It was the worst flood my family has seen in general, because we live on a hill. When it rains, there is usually little flooding. Some rooms in our house were damaged and my father had to skip work to repaint them. It doesn’t seem like it can happen to you until it does.
My bathroom and basement flooded and the metal in my basement was rusty. It was the worst flood my family has seen in general, because we live on a hill.
— Station Rodriguez, NJCU student
Station continued to say, “The area was so flooded that the streets were difficult to cross, so you had to go very slowly. We live on a hill so neighbors had similar flooding issues. Station said living in Jersey City and knowing there aren’t many safeguards for the next flood is a “constant worry.”
Features of a Classic Rain Garden
Rain gardens are depressions in the ground containing plants that consume large amounts of water. The purpose of a rain garden is to capture runoff that fills streets in urban areas after heavy rains, which can damage property and endanger people.
The difference between a regular garden and a rain garden is that the former does not have nearly the same ability to absorb excess water. As the Interstate Commission for the Potomac River Basin website stated, “The traditional system of curbs, gutters, and storm sewers carries runoff directly to local streams and rivers without no bio-retention filtering process.Instead, rain gardens filter and reuse water, reducing stormwater pollution, while providing attractive landscaping.
A rain garden is landscaped with carefully arranged layers of soil and sand along with native plants known to use large amounts of water. They are usually placed in low areas where it is easier for water to collect. The rain garden can also have trees, specific types of flowers, and grass. Some native plant types to put in New Jersey rain gardens are swamp milkweed, capsicum, and American elderberry.
According to the Groundwater Foundation, rain gardens do an amazing job of attracting rainwater. The Groundwater Foundation website states, “Rain gardens are effective at removing up to 90% of nutrients and chemicals and up to 80% of sediment from rainwater runoff. Compared to a conventional lawn, rain gardens allow 30% more water to seep into the ground.
Factors of severe flooding in Jersey City
Mark Zdziarski, professor of earth and environmental sciences at New Jersey City University, said Jersey City’s flooding problems are based on several different factors. Most of Jersey City is covered in hard rock, which cannot absorb rainwater. Most of Jersey City is built on this type of terrain. When a severe hurricane passes through Jersey City, water overflows from the Newark Basin.
Zdziarski said: “Due to plate movement, melting glaciers and erosion, many good angles have been created. Since Jersey City sits in the middle of it all, it’s a flood-prone area. The sidewalk can’t absorb all that water, so it rushes along hoardings and into people’s property. When water comes from above, slides down palisades and overflows the Hudson River and sewers, the resulting flooding can be so severe that citizens of Jersey City may have no effective way to protect themselves. or protect their home.
Due to plate movement, melting glaciers and erosion, many good angles have been created. Since Jersey City sits in the middle of it all, it’s a flood-prone area.
— Mark Zdiarski, professor of environmental science at NJCU
The problem of weather-related damage in urban areas is complex. The United Nations website states that climate change occurs when the temperature and weather in an area become different over a long period of time. It also indicates that human activity, in particular the use of fossil fuels, is the main cause of climate change. Additionally, factors such as the severity of a storm and tides can make flooding more extreme.
There are a number of possible solutions to flooding problems in Jersey City, but some are more effective than others. Some people are turning to simpler solutions, such as flood insurance, which helps people whose property has been destroyed by floodwaters.
People can also consider flooding issues when choosing where to live, avoiding homes built in low-lying areas and older homes that are unlikely to be able to withstand hurricane damage. This can be difficult as Jersey City has many buildings built without flood-sensitive infrastructure. Rain gardens are a newer solution due to their popularity, and there aren’t many of them in Jersey City today.
Fortunately, there are several options for someone who decides to install a rain garden in their backyard. There are programs such as the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program that carry out rain garden projects. In fact, the NCE program has built over 125 rain gardens in New Jersey. These rain gardens were made with the help of volunteers and local offices and stakeholders who are still cared for today. Others choose to install their own rain gardens, using online rain garden building guides and video tutorials. For example, the Native Plant Society of New Jersey and the United States Environmental Protection Agency have published instructions online for building personal rain gardens.
Rain gardens have the potential to reduce damage from the massive flooding that New Jersey faces during hurricanes, especially in urban areas. New Jersey residents might not experience such severe property damage after storm-related flooding if there are methods in place to redirect floodwaters. If installed enough, rain gardens can be an inventive way to beautify places like Jersey City while improving the quality of life for residents.