Soak it Up! Award 2019

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

Attention to stormwater runoff at the Waterview Apartments site was not only mandated by law, but visibly necessary. Runoff from the property flows directly to the Mississippi River. So from the start, the developer intended to exceed legal requirements for reducing suspended solids reaching the river.

The stormwater management strategy at at Waterview Apartments, designed by Makepeace Engineering, includes rain gardens (bioinfiltration basins) as a primary strategy for reducing runoff. Each downspout on the property points to a low area where water is absorbed. A large biofilter garden at the center the property is planted with deep rooted, native, edible plants. A swale planted with native trees surrounds the property, to hold and infiltrate standing water. Hundreds of species of water tolerant native plants fill the gardens to hold soil, absorb water, and support pollinators throughout the growing season.

Cardboard from Smith’s Bike Shop in La Crosse was used as a weed barrier instead of plastic landscaping fabric. Bikes arrive at the shop in large cardboard boxes, so the owners are happy to provide them to people to use for this purpose, rather than send them to the landfill or power plant. Over time cardboard naturally biodegrades, blending with mulch as plants expand and retaining water to keep plants healthy.

Waterview Apartments moved beyond standard commercial landscaping and chose, instead, a plan focused on food, beauty, and ecological functionality. The landscape now cleans stormwater, provides habitat, cycles out carbon dioxide, and cools the environment around the building.

“It’s a symbiotic little circle where everyone benefits,” said Roush, “I 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 lives on property bordering Pammel Creek, the main stormwater channel for a large part of La Crosse’s south side. The permit for a garage addition required preventative runoff measures to protect the creek. With a local engineer and landscaper, the Roberts directed the flow of water on the land to a large rain garden that absorbs it and filters out pollution through an engineered mix of sand, topsoil and mulch. The basin is planted with an abundance of beautiful, deep rooted native plants. The project was completed in July 2019. They not only relish the natural beauty, but enjoy sharing the importance of rain gardens and preventing 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 the Roberts HERE


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