Rainscape Your Property! Homeowners can landscape to beautify their property and improve water quality. A variety of practices include rain barrels, soil quality restoration, rain gardens, and native landscaping. Rainscaping can achieve many goals including:

  • Improve water quality
  • Fix wet areas and drainage issues
  • Provide pollinator habitat
  • Create low maintenance landscapes
  • A greener lawn with healthy soils


Not only can you get these added benefits from rainscaping, many cities have funds available to help you cover the cost! Cities including Des Moines, Waukee, Johnston, Ankeny, and Pleasant Hill have developed programs aimed at helping homeowners treat their own water to reduce flooding and improve water quality, while beautifying their property!


Do it yourself or hire a specialized contractor, Polk Soil & Water Conservation District(SWCD) is a resource to help homeowners achieve their goals. With a little direction, homeowners can build many of these practices themselves. From building your own rain barrel to improving soils in your yard, Polk SWCD can help provide the technical assistance needed to do it right. Specialize contractors have also been trained to build these practices to achieve their maximum benefit for the homeowner and local watershed.

Practice Spotlight

Rain Barrels- A rain barrel is a great way to capture water from your roof top and provide a free, sustainable, source of water for water plants and other outdoor uses. This “gateway drug” into rainscaping really teaches homeowners how much water drains from their property. In a matter of minutes rain barrels can be filled to the brim with water!


Soil Quality Restoration- As the most common practice used in the Des Moines metro, this practice utilizes the natural ability of compost to improve soil health. Many new homes suffer from compacted clay soils, and are left with lawns requiring require fertilizers and regular watering. Leave those unsustainable methods behind and improve your soils!

Overview of Available Programs for Homeowners

Easter Lake Watershed Project

About: The Easter Lake Watershed Project is a 10 year project aimed at restoring Easter Lake through in-lake improvements and improvements throughout the watershed. Project partners: City of Des Moines, Polk County Conservation, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship- Division of Soil Conservation, Iowa DNR, and Polk Soil & Water Conservation District have brought together funds for improvements including stormwater best management practices. Residents and businesses throughout the watershed can receive 75% cost-share for installed BMPs.

Cost-share rate: 75%

Eligible Practices: Rain gardens, soil quality restorations, rain barrels, permeable pavement, bio-retention cells, bioswales, native landscaping, and other approved practices in the Iowa Stormwater Management Manual.


Application Process: To receive cost-share, applicants must be approved at a monthly meeting before any installation has been completed. Any landowner wanting to install a BMP in the Easter Lake watershed may apply for cost-share. To do so, they must contact the watershed coordinator who will organize a site visit and help them through the BMP practice approval process.

Contact:

Julie Perreault- Watershed Coordinator

Julie.perreault@ia.nacdnet.net

515.964.1883 ext.3

www.easterlake.org

Facebook: Easter Lake Watershed Project

City of Des Moines

About: The City of Des Moines has provided a rebate to property owners that install stormwater BMPs. The City will make a reimbursement for 50% of the cost up to $2,000 to property owners who meet the requirements of their program. Work completed must have been performed and completed between the dates of January 1, 2017 and June 30, 2023 to be eligible.


Cost-share rate: 50% up to $2,000

Eligible Practices: Rain gardens, soil quality restoration, bio-retention cells, permeable pavement, rain barrels, streambank stabilization, other practices approved by the director


Application Process: To receive the stormwater BMP rebate, applications must be approved before work has begun. Property owners must submit the application along with the following list. Applications can be found on the City of Des Moines’ website

  1. Map/Site plans showing the project location and area treated by the BMP
  2. Summary/Description of the project
  3. Project schedule and expected completion date
  4. Project cost summary or contractor’s estimate

Contact:

stormwater@dmgov.org

515.323.8165

http://www.dmgov.org/Departments/PublicWorks/Pages/Stormwater.aspx?Tab=Stormwater+Overview

City of Johnston

About: The City of Johnston Department of Community Development has created a homeowner grant program to provide funding assistance for stormwater management improvements on single family residential lots. The grant program allocates funds for the cost of materials and associated labor for BMPs at a 50% match rate up to $750.

Cost-share rate: 50% match up to $750.00

Eligible Practices: Rain Gardens, soil quality restoration, bio-retention cells, rain barrels, pervious pavement, native landscaping, buffers, swales, erosion control, etc.


Application Process: Applicants must complete and turn in the grant application to the City of Johnston Department of Community Development. The application must include the following list. Applications can be found on the City of Johnston website.

  1. Summary/description of the project
  2. Maps/site plans showing the project location and area treated by the BMPs.
  3. Project schedule and expected completion date.
  4. Cost summary and/or contractor’s estimate of the project.

Contact:

Clayton Ender

cender@cityofjohnston.com

515.727.7763

http://www.cityofjohnston.com/747/Homeowner-Grant-Program

City of Waukee

About: Through Waukee Public Works, reimbursement for the installation of rain gardens and rain barrels is available for residents. The reimbursement program allocates funds for a 50% match up to $1000 per property. Funding is intended to help cover the cost of materials and/or contract labor.

Cost-share rate: 50% match up to $1000.00

Eligible Practices: rain gardens, bio-retention cells, rain barrels, soil quality restoration


Application Process: Applicants must complete and turn in the grant application to the City of Waukee including the following materials. Application can be found on the City of Waukee website.

  1. Summary/description of the project.
  2. Maps/site plans showing the project location and area treated by the BMPs.
  3. Anticipated construction schedule and expected completion date.
  4. Cost summary and/or contractor’s estimate of the project.

Contact:

Jenny Corkrean – Stormwater Coordinator

jcorkrean@waukee.org

Office: 515-978-7920 Direct: 515-978-7394 Cell: 515-306-8617 Fax: 515-987-3979

http://www.waukee.org/468/Best-Management-Practices-Reimbursement-

City of Ankeny

About: The City of Ankeny provides reimbursement for stormwater BMPs to encourage individual landowners and businesses to incorporate stormwater management on their properties. Funding is intended to offset the costs of materials and/or contract labor of BMP installation at a 50% match up to 1,800 per landowner or business. Funding can be used for multiple practices up to $1,800 and applicants may utilize the program for multiple fiscal years.

Cost-share rate: 50% match up $1,800 per landowner or business

Eligible Practices: Rain garden, soil quality restoration, bio-retention cell, pervious pavement, native planting/buffer/swale, rain barrel


Application Process: Applicants must complete and turn in applications to the City of Ankeny, Public Works Department along with the following materials. Applications and program information can be found on the City of Ankeny website.


  1. Maps and/or site plans showing the project location and area being treated with BMPs.
  2. Summary or description of project.
  3. Cost summary and/or contractor’s estimate for the project.
  4. Anticipated project schedule and expected completion date.

Contact:

Amy Bryant Jared Bright City of Ankeny, Public Works Department

515.963.3542 515.963.3534 220 West 1st Street

abryant@ankenyiowa.gov jbright@ankenyiowa.gov Ankeny, IA 50023

http://www.ankenyiowa.gov/departments/public-works/utilities-division/storm-water/stormwater-reimbursement-program

City of Pleasant Hill

About: The City of Pleasant Hill has created a best management practice reimbursement program for landowners to offset the cost of installing stormwater management improvements. The reimbursement program allocates funds for the cost of materials and associated labor for eligible BMPs at a 50% match up to $750 and for rain barrels at a 50% match up to $75.

Cost-share rate: 50% match up to $75 for rain barrels and 50% match up to $750 for all other eligible BMPs.

Eligible Practices: Rain gardens, soil quality restoration, bio-retention cells, rain barrels, permeable pavement, native landscaping, and other practices approved by the director.


Application Process: To receive the stormwater reimbursement, applications must be approved before work has begun. Property owners must submit the application along with the following list. Applications can be found on the City of Pleasant Hill’s website.

  1. Maps/site plans showing the project location and area treated by the BMP.
  2. Summary or description of the project.
  3. Project schedule and expected completion date.
  4. Itemized and dated cost summary and/or contractor’s estimates.

Contact:

Chris Widmer

cwidmer@pleasanthilliowa.org

515.309.9463

https://www.pleasanthilliowa.org/354/Reimbursement-Program

Polk Soil & Water Conservation District- REAP Funding

About: State funds from Resource Enhancement and Protection funds are managed by Polk SWCD for improvements including stormwater best management practices. Residents and businesses across the county are eligible for up to 50% cost share.

Cost-share rate: 50%

Eligible Practices: Rain gardens, soil quality restorations, rain barrels, permeable pavement, bio-retention cells, bioswales, native landscaping, and other approved practices in the Iowa Stormwater Management Manual.


Application Process: To receive cost-share, applicants must be approved at a monthly meeting before any installation has been completed. Any landowner wanting to install a BMP in Polk County may apply for cost-share. To do so, they must contact district staff who will organize a site visit and help them through the BMP practice approval process.

Contact:

Polk Soil & Water Conservation District

515-964-1883 ext. 3

Additional Resources

Rainscaping Iowa

www.rainscapingiowa.org

Iowa Stormwater Education Partnership

www.iowastormwater.org

Polk Soil & Water Conservation District

www.polk-swcd.org

Iowa Department of Natural Resources

http://www.iowadnr.gov/Environmental-Protection/Water-Quality/Watershed-Improvement

Tall-grass prairie used to cover 70-80% of Iowa. Less than 0.1% of the original tall-grass prairie remains!