Career Tech students design rain gardens

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, October 9, 2019

LaFAYETTE — Several students were honored by the Chambers County Emergency Management Agency Monday night for their efforts in designing a rain garden to improve water quality for Moores Creek.

At the Chambers County Commission meeting, nine students were recognized from the Chambers County Career Technical Center for winning first and second place in the design contest.

The first-place winners were Levi Cole, Trace Abney, Nic Langley Ethan Weldon and Tren Burton. The winners received a certificate and a gift card.

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The second-place winners were Donkia Edmondson, C.D. Clark, John Emfinger and Faith Graben.

Alex James, watershed coordinator with the Auburn University Extension water quality program, said the Moores Creek Project, will soon begin work on restoring the creek in Valley that runs from city hall to the Langdale Mill site.

She said that the area suffered from poor water quality and habitat. However, the project is also focused on reducing the amount of stormwater getting to the creek.

“We have been working with the community to implement best stormwater management practices that help intercept that stormwater before it gets to the creek and causes issues,” she said.

James said the emergency management office in Lanett had implemented stormwater practices, but the project would like to do more to intercept more stormwater, promote infiltration and improve water quality by installing a rain garden.

“Raingardens are small planted areas that are designed to collect and soak up rainwater that flows off of hard surfaces like rooftops, driveways and sidewalks,” a news release from the Moores Creek Project said. “Not only do rain gardens help collect runoff and reduce erosion, but they can also reduce the amount of pollution that typically runs into creeks and streams.”

In August, James said the project and emergency management office hosted three days of rain garden design with the Career Tech students. Afterward, the students worked on their own design in the classroom to have them judged by the Moore’s Creek Executive Steering committee.

James said the winning design came down to one vote.

Jessica Yeager, Chambers County Emergency Management Agency director, said there was no better way to involve students in the project than to have them design their own product.

“They will also be welcomed and encouraged to participate in the construction of the garden that will take place later this fall,” Yeager said. “The final product will be something that the students can take pride in and know that they made an impact on the watershed of this county.”