While new sports courts at Boulder Beach is the current priority project for Friends of Lake Panorama, the charity also is working on a smaller project related to water quality.

On Saturday, June 10, a rain garden will be installed along the east side of the Panorama West clubhouse parking lot. Historically, the prairies and savannas of Iowa held and infiltrated most rainfall, and surface runoff was rare. Rainfall was absorbed and moved down through the soil to become groundwater flow.

Installing a rain garden helps reduce surface runoff and protect water quality. These landscaped depressions capture rainwater runoff, where it is temporarily ponded. Plants in the garden use the water, pollutants are filtered out, and the water percolates down through the soil.

Derek Namanny, an urban conservationist with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, has been working with Friends of Lake Panorama since last fall. He visited Lake Panorama to look for possible rain garden locations, and found the perfect spot at Panorama West.

There is an existing water drain that receives rainfall runoff from the Panorama West parking lot. Namanny designed a garden that will cover 500 square feet surrounding this drain. Some excavation will be done before layers of rock, sand and soil are covered with a hardwood mulch and erosion blanket. Volunteers then will install about 170 native plants, featuring eight to 10 varieties.

Namanny will be at the site June 10 beginning at 9 a.m. to assist with the planting, and provide additional information on how a rain garden functions and suitable locations.

The cost of this rain garden project is estimated at $2,500. In December, the Guthrie County Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioners approved an application from Friends for cost-share funding for the rain garden. The Lake Panorama Association will provide excavation and other site preparation assistance.

Friends already has some funds available for this project, but additional donations are being sought, with a goal of raising $500. The Panorama West women’s golf league has donated $50. Donations, with a note the funds are to be used for the rain garden, can be mailed to Friends of Lake Panorama, Box 488, Panora, Iowa, 50216.

Volunteers are needed to help with the garden installation June 10. To volunteer, or for more information, send an email to staff@friendsoflakepanorama.org. Or call 515-240-6536.