Soak it Up! Award 2019

Congratulations Roush Rentals Waterview Apartments, 2019 Soak it Up! Award Recipient

The needs at Waterview Apartments were very important because any runoff from the property flows directly into the Mississippi River. The intent, from the start, was to meet and exceed the current requirements to adequately reduce the amount of suspended solids and clean up the runoff before it even makes its way to the river.

The main strategy, to reduce runoff at  Waterview Apartments, was rain gardens. Every single downspout on the building flows directly into its own rain garden. In the center of the property, there is a large biofilter garden filled with edible plants. Surrounding the entire building is a huge swale planted with tons of native trees that will soak up any standing water. Hundreds of different species of water tolerable, native plants were planted. All designed to support pollinators year rounds, with different blooming seasons.

Another really cool aspect of this project is the use of cardboard from Smith’s Bike Shop, that was used for weed barrier vs. plastic fabric. All of their bikes come in large cardboard boxes, so instead of those boxes ending up in the landfill or power plant, Roush used them as a weed barrier. Over time, the cardboard naturally biodegrades and blends with the mulch beds as the plants expand to cover more space and acts to retain more water to keep the plants healthy and happy.

Waterview Apartments did not use the standard commercial landscape plan. The whole site based on providing food, esthetics and ecological functionality by cleaning stormwater, providing habitat, cycling out carbon dioxide, and cooling the environment around the building.

“It’s really a symbiotic little circle where everyone benefits,” said Roush, “I just love situations where everyone involved wins. We try to use good materials and design our landscaping so we’ll have a product that will last a very long time, be kind to the environment around us and be a great long term investment for our community. We approach every project we’ve built this way and fully intend to keep it up!”

Read the full interview with Nick Roush, President of Roush Rentals HERE.




2019 Finalist: Gordy & Barb Roberts, La Crosse

The Roberts family have a beautiful property that borders Pammel Creek, the main stormwater channel for a large part of La Crosse’s Southside. The Roberts needed to obtain a building permit for a garage addition and had to take preventative runoff measures to protect the creek. Through a local engineer and landscaper, the Roberts were able to direct the flow of water to a large rain garden that includes an engineered mix of sand, topsoil and mulch. They also installed dozens of deep rooted native plants. The Roberts completed this project in July of this year, and love being able to share the importance of rain gardens and preventing runoff pollution with their grandchildren.

“It is amazing to see the runoff drain into the rain garden and fill right before our eyes. Then within 12 hours that pool of water goes down, cleansed by the earth. The pooled water has never come close to the creek.” ~Gordy & Barb Roberts

Read the full interview with Gordy & Barb Roberts HERE.



It is never to early to nominate someone for the 2020 Soak it Up! Award. Do it today!