ATLANTA – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized Mississippi State University with the regional 2015 EPA Rain Catcher Award in the Neighborhood/Community Category for the Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum’s rain garden program in Starkville, Miss. The award was given at a ceremony during the EPA Region 4/International Erosion Control Association Municipal Wet Weather Stormwater Conference, in Atlanta, Ga.
The Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum’s rain garden program was a 5-year project designed and constructed by Mississippi State University students, faculty and community volunteers. Project elements include a rain garden, public use pavilion with a green roof, conversion of unused parking space to grassed area, installation of a dry swale, cistern and sand filter, and educational signage for all elements of the project. The museum project provided hands-on experience for over 200 students in six disciplines, and now serves as a green infrastructure demonstration site for North Mississippi.
The EPA Region 4 Rain Catcher Award recognizes excellence in the implementation of stormwater green infrastructure practices. Green infrastructure uses natural systems and/or engineered systems designed to mimic natural processes to more effectively manage stormwater and reduce receiving water impacts. EPA and its partner organizations have promoted the use of green infrastructure for many years as part of a comprehensive approach to achieving healthier waters. Green infrastructure reduces the volume of stormwater discharges by managing rainwater close to where it falls and removes many of the pollutants present in runoff, making it an effective strategy for addressing wet weather pollution and improving water quality.