In 2021, three NYC-based watershed organizations came together with a workforce development organization to pilot a new way of ensuring success for rain gardens throughout NYC, especially in lower income, outer borough neighborhoods.
Entitled RAIN—Raingarden Action in Neighborhoods—the coalition includes Bronx River Alliance, Gowanus Canal Conservancy, the HOPE Program, and Newtown Creek Alliance.
Together, we are united in exploring a new model of rain garden stewardship that is rooted in local neighborhoods and watersheds, connected to robust community education and volunteerism, and grounded in a workforce development effort to offer training and jobs to residents in affected communities.
Since 2011, NYC has implemented thousands of rain gardens in an effort to comply with the mandates of the Clean Water Act; however, public education and stewardship of these rain gardens is lacking.
Green Infrastructure—rain gardens, green roofs, rain barrels—offers a way to minimize local flooding, reduce sewage overflows into our local waterways, offer pollinator habitat, cooling and beauty to local neighborhoods. Green infrastructure also offers a tremendous opportunity for NYC to link adaptation to climate change with workforce development in environmental justice communities.
The HOPE Program is proud to be a member of RAIN and looks forward to sharing our lessons learned with public agencies, elected officials, and other stakeholders in a resilient and just future for NYC. In other words, all of us!