Stormwater Resiliency and Management

Stormwater Resiliency and Management

Keeping our rivers and lakes free of pollution starts at the source: our watersheds. When rain or snow melts onto surfaces like pavement, asphalt, or rooftops it “runs off” across the land and can pick up pollutants before entering the nearest body of water. As homeowners, students, and members of our community, it is our responsibility to keep our lakes and rivers clean for all to use.

This page highlights several stormwater solutions that you can use to keep rainwater from escaping your home, school, or business. These strategies help prevent nonpoint source pollution such as bacteria, oil, gasoline, sediment, and salt from harming our streams and rivers.

For more information about workshops and events around stormwater visit our Water Programs page here.

WMEAC Rainwater Rewards Calculator

Rainwater Rewards is an online stormwater calculator that shows the value of investments to manage stormwater such as rain gardens, porous pavement, rain barrels, planting native trees, and conserving natural areas. All of these practices allow rainwater to soak into the ground close to where it falls which prevents stormwater runoff from transporting pollution from our streets, parking lots, and houses into our waterways.

For more information visit our Rainwater Rewards page.

Rain Barrels

Rain barrels have been proven an effective and easy strategy for managing community storm water issues and improving water quality. Through its rain barrel education programs, WMEAC provides low-cost rain barrels to the West Michigan community as a means of addressing water conservation and pollution issues in West Michigan. Throughout the year WMEAC hosts several workshops to distribute low-cost rain barrels to our communities while educating them on how to manage stormwater in a green, environmentally friendly way. To see our upcoming schedule of workshops, or to request hosting your own workshop, please visit our main Water Programs page here.


WMEAC, with funding through the Dyer Ives Foundation, looked across the nation for best practices in ways to both sustain stormwater investment, and to get the most from the investments Grand Rapids has already made.

Click here to view and download the report.

Rain Gardens

Simply put a rain garden is a sculpted native garden designed to absorb rainwater from nearby parking lots, roads, or buildings to prevent pollution from entering our watershed. But they can be much more than that! Inspiring many homeowners, schools, and communities rain gardens have become a staple in Michigan’s progressive approach to stormwater management. Planting or maintaining a rain garden fosters a sense of connection to our rich ecology of native plants and pollinators all while doing a service to keep our water clean and healthy for all.

Are you interested in establishing a rain garden for your school or community? WMEAC can help! Our staff are Rainscaping Certified, a program established by the Lower Grand River Organization of Watersheds to help improve the aesthetics, biodiversity, and water quality of our neighborhoods and businesses. Our qualified staff will help you assess your property and make recommendations if planting a rain garden, native trees, or using another “green infrastructure” practice such as a rain barrel is right for your property.

For more information please contact Kyle Hart at to get started today.

External REsources and Partners

Adopt-a-Drain Portal - Lower Grand River Organization of Watersheds

Do you know where your street’s storm drain is? Do you know that these drains need our help? Come pledge to keep your drain free of leaves and debris and join your neighbors in helping to protect the environment, manage stormwater, and minimize flooding. Brought to you by the Lower Grand River Organization of Watersheds in partnership with the City of Grand Rapids comes Adopt-a-Drain: a virtual map to view where your local drains are and adopt (and name!) a drain to maintain. This is a great volunteer opportunity for students and families alike to foster stewardship to keep our lakes and rivers healthy.

Check it out here at:

Virtual Green Stormwater Infrastructure Tour - the City of Grand Rapids

This virtual map from The City of Grand Rapids’ Environmental Services Department highlights examples of green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) within the City. Large amounts of rain that fall on surfaces like parking lots or roads create stormwater that can move pollution into our rivers and cause erosion or property damage. GSI is a strategy to mimic the natural water cycle by allowing rain to soak in where it falls and prevent runoff.

This virtual tour takes you through fourteen GSI initiatives led by the City of Grand Rapids to protect our communities from flooding and keep the Grand River healthy. Check out the tour by clicking here.

Master Rain Gardener Class - Washtenaw County

Offered by the Water Resources Office of Washtenaw County, Michigan, this online class trains people to design and install rain gardens themselves – and to serve as their neighborhood expert. It contains a self-paced video series about the principles of rain garden design, native plants, construction, and maintenance. Upon completing the course you will receive a Master Rain Gardener Certification. Check out the class by clicking here.

Free Lessons and Materials

These materials are a great introduction to our local water cycle. Learning how rain, snow, and other kinds of precipitation flow across our watershed and into our streams and rivers is the first step to preventing nonpoint source pollution.

These resources are on their way. Please check back soon for updates!