Kids in American Samoa: Fighting stormwater runoff, one rain garden at a time!

By guest AIC blogger, Sabrina Woofter, Coral Reef Management Fellow, American Samoa Coral Reef Advisory Group

Le Tausagi Rain Garden, American Samoa

The Le Tausagi summer camp admires their completed rain garden!  Photo credit: Coral Reef Advisory Group

Le Tausagi Rain Garden

A camper prepares to plant ti. Photo credit: Coral Reef Advisory Group

Le Tausagi, an outreach group comprised of staff from American Samoa environmental and youth agencies, held their annual Enviro Discoveries Summer Camp on July 14th and 15th, 2016. Throughout the 2-day event, about 30 children and 15 staff and volunteers discussed local natural resources and the impacts that humans have on them. As the  Coral Reef Management Fellow, I used a watershed model to explain how we can help protect the coral reef ecosystem by preserving and planting vegetation in our watersheds and reducing land-based sources of pollution.

Le Tausagi Rain Garden

Campers and staff are working hard to plant, water, and mulch. Photo credit: Coral Reef Advisory Group

The camp culminated with an installation of a 600 ft2 rain garden that now captures stormwater runoff from an adjacent basketball court and rooftop. The garden was installed at a public park located in the impaired Nu’uuli Pala Lagoon watershed. Rain gardens like this one are stormwater best management practices (BMPs) that use plants, mulch, and soil in a depression to slow down and clean stormwater runoff, letting it infiltrate the ground. Stormwater contributes to poor surface water quality and often contains pollutants, such as sediment and nutrients, that can damage coral reef ecosystems. Rain gardens are one type of practice that can be used along with others to help improve water quality and the health of coral reefs.