Bioswales can help reduce stormwater runoff, improve water quality, create habitat, and more! In this post, we’ll be taking a closer look at what they are, why we need them, and where to find them.

What is a bioswale?

A bioswale is a shallow, vegetated channel with gently sloping sides designed to collect, treat, and infiltrate stormwater runoff. The materials used to create bioswales include soil, gravel, and sand and are dependent on the project. Bioswales are typically planted with native plants that are tolerant of wet conditions, help to filter water, and prevent erosion.

A bioswale in a parking lot (Office of Water Programs, California State University, Sacramento)

Why do we need bioswales?

Bioswales are a type of green infrastructure, which are stormwater management practices that use natural systems to treat and manage stormwater. Green infrastructure can be more effective and sustainable than traditional stormwater management practices, such as storm sewers. You can read more about it in this post – An Introduction to Green Infrastructure.

Bioswales also benefit us by:

  • Reducing stormwater runoff, thereby helping to prevent flooding and erosion.
  • Improving water quality by filtering out pollutants.
  • Creating habitat for wildlife.
  • Making a landscape more inviting and enjoyable.
A bioswale along the road (American Society of Landscape Architects)

Where can I find bioswales?

While bioswales aren’t designed to stick out, they are easy to spot if you know where to look:

  • Bioswales along a road can help to prevent flooding and erosion.
  • Bioswales in a parking lot can help to reduce the amount of pollutants that enter the storm sewer system.
  • Bioswales in a park can help to create a more natural environment and provide a place for people to relax and enjoy nature. Temboo has partnered with Friends of the Wissahickon to help understand how effective their bioswale is compared to other areas of the park without green infrastructure. You can read more about the project here.
Wissahickon Valley Park (Friends of the Wissahickon)

Interested in collecting environmental data to measure green infrastructure effectiveness? Please contact us to learn how Temboo can help you!