Rain Garden

At the Church Street entrance to River Walk, a “rain garden” in the Du Bois River Park demonstrates how natural systems like wetlands can help cleanse stormwater runoff and also be beautiful. Prior to the garden, contaminated stormwater containing road salt, oil and sediments from nearby roads and parking lots collected in a storm drain and piped directly into the Housatonic River. The rain garden diverts runoff into a shallow man-made wetland depression planted with native Joe-Pye Weed, Cardinal Flower, Cattail and Swamp Milkweed to help remove contaminants and harmful nutrients.

Native Trees & Plants

At River Walk, we use plants native to Berkshire County to revegetate as many areas as possible. Plants with local provenance possess adaptations accumulated over eons, making them uniquely suited to the local environment. We use Pamela Weatherbee’s Flora of Berkshire County Massachusetts and Bruce Sorrie and Paul Somers’s Vascular Plants of Massachusetts: A Checklist as our references for native plants. Recorded are more than 150 species of native trees, shrubs and plants and 75 “native native” species propagated from seed collected locally.

Monitoring & Research

River Walk is a prototype for using native plants to reclaim dramatically altered banks of the Housatonic, and our success is clear to the naked eye. Between 2006 and 2009, we took a step further by measuring and monitoring our planting efforts. This provided hard data with which to report and assess our progress and helped guide our decisions about future planting schemes.