Not so easy… not so fast

Erosion - Building Runoff June 2013

BEFORE Erosion after recent rains – June 13, 2013
(photo by SC)

We hauled in soil, we packed in eroded areas, we created a berm…. and then it rained, and it rained and it rained some more. Now for those of us in Nebraska, this is something we aren’t used to in recent years. We’ve been in a very stubborn drought. Thankfully, in a few short weeks we’ve swam out of the drought – our ponds are full and fields are green! The only negative has been progress on our project.

The rain amplified some of the issues with erosion and runoff from the building. We called on Tom Franti to take a look at what we were facing before we moved forward. Tom is the Extension Surface Water Management Specialist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. When Tom visited our site, he determined very quickly that we would not be able to install a rain garden. The slope from the building to the creek was too steep and our berm would never be able to hold the water back with the amount of water coming off the building. The soil was also not conducive to a rain garden. Tom also told us he does not recommend putting a rain garden over any utilities. Our site is full of flagged utilities with the exception of just a few places. We have a tough situation.

Tom Franti had just published a new UNL resource called “Rain Garden: Site Selection & Design” with Steve Rodie, Extension Landscape Horticulture Specialist, at UNL. It covers everything from getting started to site selection and design. The section on reviewing and evaluating your potential site was very helpful.

River Rock in eroded area

AFTER: Same area after river rock was used to fill eroded area June 13, 2013 (photo by MJ)

Rain Garden Site Selection & Design is available on-line from UNL – Considering a rain garden? Check it out first!

After reviewing our options, we are going to take other steps to help reduce runoff and erosion… and we’ll have to be creative. Today, we’re getting rubble/rock to put under the large downspouts and pack into the eroded soil areas. We have to slow the water down and help it to spread out on its journey down the slope. We’ve got several ideas but need to start with rock. The berm is going to wait until we can see how water will be flowing – since more rain is predicted this week, it is a good test.

We are also going to move the location for the insect hotel/bee houses and patio area. Although the spot we chose was excellent (when dry), it is obvious that when we have heavy rains, we need to move away from where water is flowing from the slope. The dirt from the berm will be moved (shovel by shovel – good work out!) to the new area. We’re heading to the EcoStore in Lincoln to see what reuseable resources we can use for the insect hotel and patio. (About EcoStores)

I’ve got native serviceberry started and ready to be planted. MJ has beautiful butterfly milkweed blooming in her office…. we’re ready to go! Well, not so easy… not so fast.

Here’s to Sharing the Buzz!


UNL Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere –

About Soni Cochran

Mother, Wife, Grandma! I am an extension associate with the Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County. I work with urban pests and wildlife, youth programs and manage the office web site at My degree is in education and I taught in rural public schools in Nebraska before coming to Nebraska Extension - UNL. I am Deputy Commander of the 155th Composite Squadron Civil Air Patrol in Lincoln - my focus is on public affairs, disaster relief and emergency services. Great organization of adults/teens serving this nation. Love my family, jobs, and sharing my love of nature and the outdoors with anyone who will listen.

2 thoughts on “Not so easy… not so fast

  1. UPDATE: MJ, David and Chris in our office worked hard this afternoon to get rock in before the next round of thunderstorms. They followed the natural path of the water when placing the rocks. Can’t wait to see how it works! It looks amazing!

  2. Pingback: We’re making progress! | The Buzz at Cherry Creek

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s