« Back to Sustainability

Judy Z. Kishner Library - Rain Garden; Sperry, OK

Tulsa City-County Library
Go to Website

Problem Statement

There was an existing on-site drainage problem. Water collected and remained on approximately 30% of the property. Long term standing water was unsightly, unsafe and created a mosquito habitat. A typical response would be to get all the water to drain off the property. However, the contours and elevations of the property did not promote this type of resolution. Creation of a rain garden seemed appropriate at this location.


Rain gardens are planted depressions that allow rain water runoff to be collected and absorbed. Rain water is allowed to soak into the ground, replenishing the aquifer, as opposed to flowing into storm drains or causing erosion. Rain gardens also improve water quality in nearby bodies of water by cutting down on the amount of pollution reaching nearby creeks and streams.


The plants utilized in our rain garden were a selection of wetland edge vegetation. Water irises, cattails, pussy willow, rush and bald cypress trees were planted in and around the rain garden as they were deemed suitable to the soil and moisture conditions. They were excellent selections for attracting local wildlife such as birds, tree frogs and snakes. Whitetail deer and raccoons have also been attracted to the rain garden.

The project was financed with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, administered by the EPA and the Oklahoma Water Resources Board. It was completed last fall and educational programming is currently under development.