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Thurston County Stormwater Utility

Rain Garden Incentive Program

Guidelines and Details

The Thurston County Water Resources is sponsoring a Rain Garden Incentive Program (“Program”) for property owners located in unincorporated Thurston County. Approved property owners will qualify for a reimbursement up to $400 for plants and/or compost used in the construction of a staff approved rain garden. The purpose of the Program is to reduce the amount of stormwater runoff that may flow into local streams or Puget Sound by directing stormwater runoff from rooftops, yards, driveways or parking areas into a rain garden where the runoff will be filtered and can soak into the ground.

This Program is a competitive process. Each year, rain garden applications will be scored on various criteria such as: appropriate rain garden location, site feasibility, and long-term maintenance. Only the ten highest ranking projects will be selected to participate in the Program per year.Rain Garden Construction

Program Materials

All materials are in Adobe PDF format.
Click on the Adobe icon to download a free Adobe reader.Adobe Reader

How Does the Program Work?

  1. Watch the Building a Rain Garden in the Pacific Northwest video; read the Rain Garden Handbook for Western Washington; and/or attend a rain garden workshop. Determine if you have the time, resources, and space to construct a rain garden on your property.
  2. If you would like technical advice, you can schedule a visit with a Stormwater Steward who can help you in filling out the application and in doing a site assessment.
  3. Conduct a soil percolation test. (The instructions for the test can be found on pages 15 and 16 of the Rain Garden Handbook for Western Washington.)
  4. Submit completed application to the County.
  5. The County will select up to five applicants based on the criteria within the application. Successful applicants will be notified in writing.
  6. The final plan for the rain garden, including cross section with depth of rain garden, must be approved by County Staff.  If needed, County Staff is available during the construction process to provide technical assistance. To qualify for the reimbursement, the rain garden must be constructed according to the approved plan.
  7. During construction, retain original receipts for plants and/or compost to submit for reimbursement. Remember to take “during” and “after” construction photos. Construction must be completed by October 31.
  8. When installation is complete, submit Rain Garden Reimbursement Form, Vendor Form, copy of original receipts from purchasing the plants and/or compost (all purchased plants must be planted in the rain garden), plus “during” and “after” photos to the County by December 1 in order to receive reimbursement.  Once installed, County staff will visit the rain garden to ensure it was installed according to the approved plan.

    The rain garden must be registered on the 12,000 Rain Gardens in Puget Sound website and a rain garden sign installed (provided by County) prior to submitting all forms and materials requesting reimbursement.

    Once all of the above requirements are complete, a check for the amount of actual documented costs up to $400 will be issued within 4 to 6 weeks.

    December 1, is the final deadline to submit any outstanding paperwork to qualify for the reimbursement.
  9. At the County’s discretion, rain garden photos may be posted on the County’s web site (or used in other County publications), along with other rain garden details and the rain garden plan. The rain garden may be included in a tour of rain gardens.  County Staff will notify residents prior to these activities.

Rain Garden Cross Section


For more information about the Rain Garden Incentive Program, contact Ann Marie Pearce at 360-754-3355 ext. 6857 or email pearcea@co.thurston.wa.us



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