Jeff Masters Weather Blog

Free rain barrel program helps Duluth residents get involved in flood prevention » Yale Climate Connections

In the Great Lakes region, intensifying rain storms are increasing the risk of flooding – especially in low-lying areas with little green space to soak up water.

So in three states, Sea Grant programs are working to protect vulnerable neighborhoods by collaborating with residents.

Sprague: “They’re excited about thinking about how to control runoff on their property, how to make sure that their home stays safe from these increased precipitation events.”

Tiffany Sprague is with the Natural Resources Research Institute at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

As part of the “One Block at a Time” project, her team held listening sessions with residents of Duluth’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. She says many expressed a desire to help implement solutions.

Sprague: “As a result of that, one of the things we did was a free rain barrel giveaway program.”

They threw a block party where residents could sign up and receive a rain barrel.

A partner organization helped connect the barrels to people’s downspouts. So during storms, water is collected in the rain barrel instead of running off and contributing to flooding.

Sprague: “And sure, one rain barrel on one person’s house may not solve all the problems, but it helps give people a voice and to say, ‘Hey, I’m playing an active part in managing water.’”

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy / ChavoBart Digital Media

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