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Rain Garden at Millersville Elementary – Goodlettsville, TN


In April of 2022, the Cumberland River Compact utilized the Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s Nonpoint Source Pollution 319 funding for watershed restoration to install an 850-square-foot rain garden at Millersville Elementary school. The funding source is part of a national effort to reduce pollution in the waterways and improve overall water quality. With increased development, more permeable surfaces are getting paved over, which can lead to pollution, flash flooding, and species endangerment, among other things.  Rain gardens are part of a host of methods referred to as “Green Infrastructure”, which help address these issues by allowing stormwater to slowly infiltrate into the water table, rather than rushing into culverts and drains. 

At Millersville Elementary, roughly 14,000 square feet of roofing was draining into an area of turf between the school and the hillside behind the building. The resulting muddy mess threatened both the students’ learning space and the foundation of the building, all while washing topsoil towards Slaters Creek.  Since school administrators were interested in improving the outdoor classroom space for students to learn and engage with the environment, this presented a unique opportunity to establish a rain garden.


Project site at Millersville Elementary before rain garden installation


Runoff from Millersville Elementary flows across parking lots and turf lawns before entering Slaters Creek, a small tributary to Mansker Creek. Mansker Creek flows into the Cumberland River, and its 30,000-acre watershed encompasses both the City of Goodlettsville, and Millersville. Slaters Creek is impaired for both pathogens and silitation (aka dirt). The rain garden will help reduce the amount of dirt entering the stream by capturing, slowing down, and naturally infiltrating the water before it enters the stream. 


Gravel channel directs gutter runoff to rain garden and helps filter excess water

Staff at the Compact designed and installed a rain garden for this area, which was planted with 180 native plants of six different species. The flowers have thrived, and not only provide an aesthetically pleasing educational environment, but also a source of food for local pollinators. The Compact also repaired the gutters on a nearby picnic shelter and installed an underground drainage system to route water directly into the rain garden, capturing runoff from an additional 800 square feet of impervious roof.



Thanks to our partners at the Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s 319 Nonpoint Source Pollution Program, Sumner County Schools, and Millersville Elementary for helping to make this project possible!

APRIL 2022