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  • Writer's pictureJeff Robbins

What are Bioswales?

With the frequency and ferocity of the storms hammering San Diego recently, I found myself driving on flooded roads and with an ocean that was un-surfable due to dangerous pollution levels caused by run-off. San Diego has the potential to remedy these issues through the construction of “bioswales.” Bioswales are wide sloped drainage ditches that retain water and prevent it from running off.

They can be planted with low-maintenance native plants that only require rainfall and preserve biodiversity. The bottom of these elaborate drainage ditches can be lined with beautiful stones and mulched with compost or woodchips. Bioswales also filter surface contaminants like pesticides, excess fertilizer, and heavy metals. Some conscientious homeowners even work bioswales into their landscape design by using them as a dumping point for roof gutters.Curious?

Check out this bioswale Wikipedia entry.

Next time you pass a wide, even meandering drainage ditch with a robust layer of rocks or vegetation, give it a thumbs up. Further, support San Diego’s efforts to install as many as bioswales as possible. Our oceans will thank you!


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