As soon as stormwater hits the ground, it either gets absorbed, or it flows directly into our local rivers, lakes, and streams. Too much stormwater can cause problems, such as flooding, erosion, and pollutant transport. The best place to manage stormwater is the spot on which it lands.
The Stormwater Best Management Practices Rebate Program provides an incentive for property owners to install stormwater best management practices. These practices help enhance the water quality of stormwater runoff, decrease the amount of stormwater runoff that ends up in the storm drainage system, and repurpose the energy and nutrients of stormwater for healthier soils and landscaping. The City will reimburse property owners 50% of the total cost of their project, with a reimbursement limit of $2000, provided the project and property owner meets the requirements of the program.
If you have questions or want to set up a free site evaluation with City staff to see what practices would work best for your property, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call our Clean Water Team at 515-323-8165.
Installing a rain barrel is a relatively inexpensive process. The rain barrel connects to the downspout of any gutter system and collects rain water. This harvested rain water may be used for watering yards, tending to gardens or other household needs.
Where to use rain barrels: Connect rain barrels to downspouts on your house and garage. Rain barrels will typically capture 50 to 60 gallons. A small 8′ x 10′ area of roof will generate 50 gallons of water during a 1 inch of rain.
How you can use rainwater:
- Water plants, gardens, and lawns
- Rinse out recyclables before putting them in the recycle bin
- Wash exterior fixtures like windows, mailboxes & dog houses
Price Range: $0-$100 per barrel
Rain gardens capture runoff from a variety of impervious surfaces in a depression or shallow bowl. Runoff captured by a rain garden is temporarily ponded, and is allowed to soak into the soil rather than running into storm drains. These features are suitable for yards and other small drainage areas where drain spouts can be redirected.
What does a rain garden look like? Rain gardens are landscaping made of a shallow depression with a level bottom in which soils have been amended to better soak up water. They are planted with primarily native plants. Rain gardens can take many shapes and forms allowing you the creativity to create beautiful and wildlife friendly landscaping that serves a purpose you can feel good about.
Where do you use a rain garden? Rain gardens are placed in areas that capture water such as the end of a downspout or low spot in a yard. As the water reaches the rain garden, it is temporarily ponded until it fully soaks into the ground within a few hours. Rain gardens must be placed at least 10 feet away from a foundation and sized properly for the amount of water they are capturing.
Price Range: Varies depending on size and whether they are DIY or contractor built
Soil Quality Restoration
Healthy soil is the key to reducing polluted runoff. As buildings and houses are built, topsoil is generally removed and the remaining subsoil is compacted by grading and construction activities. Property owners are left with compacted and high clay content soils with little to no topsoil or organic matter leading to problems such as:
- Ponding & Drainage Issues
- Brown & patchy lawns
- "Squishy" lawn after a rain that won't seem to dry
- Constant need for watering
Soil quality restoration minimizes these problems by reducing compaction through deep aeration or tillage and increases organic matter content by adding quality topsoil or compost. This process helps soil become more sponge-like enabling it to soak up rainfall, and provides your lawn with the nutrients it needs to be healthy. Soil quality restoration is an environmentally friendly way to improve your lawn health minimizing the need for fertilizers and excess watering.
Soil quality restoration should be applied to lawns in spring (March-May) or in fall (late August-November).
Price Range: About $.22 per square foot of lawn
- Prairie plants benefit pollinators and birds by providing food sources
- Prairie plants have deep roots that can help your soil absorb more water
- Prairie plants are well adapted to Iowa weather meaning they can tolerate heavy rains and hot, dry summers.
- Native plants can help improve water quality by minimizing stormwater runoff from your house.
If strategically placed native plants can increase your property’s ability to soak in and manage stormwater. Think of areas in your yard that are constantly wet or where water flows from one yard into another. By using native plants in these locations we can address drainage issues while providing landscaping or even a natural privacy fence.
Price Range: Varies depending on size and whether it is a DIY or contractor built project
Streambank stabilization is a process in which streambanks are reconstructed or armored to reduce streambank erosion and subsequent sediment flows. If your property contains a streambank, City employees will give a free site evaluation to see what can be done to stabilize it.
Price Range: Varies greatly based on size and scope of work
For those living outside the City of Des Moines, follow Polk Soil and Water Conservation District's #RainCampaign for information about stormwater management programs available across the metro area. Additional information can also be found through the Iowa Stormwater Education Partnership.
Why Should I Apply For The Program?
- Every property is different, but every property can most likely benefit from the installation of a stormwater best management practice. There is almost always a project that will work for your property, no matter how big or small.
- You don’t have to install a large basin or a excavate your backyard in order to qualify for our program – even the installation of a rain barrel could make a difference!
- Some projects end up paying for themselves over time. For instance, a Soil Quality Restoration (SQR) dramatically limits your lawn’s need for nutrients, fertilizer, and water. Not only could you spend less on lawn maintenance, but you could also save on your water bill!
What Qualifying Work Is Best For My Yard?
Rain BarrelsInstalling a rain barrel is a relatively inexpensive process. The rain barrel connects to the downspout of any gutter system and collects rain water. This harvested rain water may be used for watering yards, tending to gardens or other household needs.
Rain GardensRain gardens capture runoff from a variety of impervious surfaces in a depression or shallow bowl. Runoff captured by a rain garden is temporarily ponded, and is allowed to soak into the soil rather than running into storm drains. These features are suitable for yards and other small drainage areas where drain spouts can be redirected.
Bioretention CellsBioretention cells have an engineered and constructed sub-grade to ensure adequate percolation and infiltration of captured runoff. These features are best placed near impervious services to reduce water pollution and stabilize stream flows.
Native LandscapingNative Landscaping is the incorporation of native plants into urban landscapes that mimic the natural prairie. Native landscaping promotes soil health, water absorption, and pollinator habitat. Whether it replaces existing turf grass or it fills in your flowering bed, this practice is flexible and obtainable for all yards.
Permeable PaversBecause roads, parking lots and driveways account for more than 60 percent of impassable surfaces in urban areas, permeable pavement systems can go a long way to reduce the amount of runoff entering the storm sewer system.
Soil Quality RestorationSoil quality restoration involves reducing soil compaction. This practice will increase organic matter, promote infiltration and soil quality, while decreasing the need for watering and chemical treatment of lawns. Soil Quality Restoration is a process that involves three main steps: aeration, seeding and watering, and composting and leaves your yard looking luscious and green and allows it to capture more stormwater.
Streambank StabilizationStreambank stabilization is a process in which streambanks are reconstructed or armored to reduce streambank erosion and subsequent sediment flows. If your property contains a streambank, City employees will give a free site evaluation to see what can be done to stabilize it.
How Do I Apply?
- Complete an application.
- Attach a detailed project description, including maps if necessary
- Attach project estimate
- Mail with Attention to Clean Water Program to 3000 Vandalia Rd; Des Moines, IA 50317 or email to email@example.com
How Will I Be Paid?
- Send in final documentation, including IRS W-9 form, paid invoice, and photos of the completed project.
- Payments will be issued by check, which should arrive 3-5 weeks after the payment is approved.
Terms for Eligibility
- Stormwater Best Management Practices (BMP) shall meet design criteria in the Iowa Storm Water Management Manual or other applicable design guidance approved by the Director of Public Works.
- Stormwater BMPs required for subdivisions and new developments are not eligible for rebate.
- Stormwater BMPs for which the property owner seeks reimbursement from other sources of City funding are not eligible for rebate.
- Must be one of the improvements (Best Management Practices) listed as qualifying work above.
- Work cannot proceed until the application has been pre-approved by City.
- After work is completed, additional documentation will be required including receipts or itemized contractor's invoice, proof of payment, and W-9 federal tax form.
- Subsidy will be for 50% of the reasonable total cost of materials and labor up to $2,000.
- The account for the stormwater management fee charges on the property must be current as to the payments at the time of application.
- Application must be received by June 1, 2023.
- Rebate program eligibility expires on June 30, 2023.
- A property that has received the maximum rebate amount is not eligible for additional rebates under this program, regardless of a change in ownership or use, until at least 10 years have passed since issuance of the prior rebate.
- A Stormwater Best Management Practices Rebate Application must be completed.