What is Project Mullet?

Business in the front and party in the back to control flooding? That’s exactly what the Green Infrastructure Group (GIG), a subcommittee of the Green Umbrella Watershed Action team, along with the students of Gamble Montessori High School completed this past fall.

The GIG team and Gamble Montessori implemented a low-mow concept that they called ‘Project Mullet’. The concept identifies areas on a property that would allow the grass to grow and be mowed a couple of times a year.

Mary Dudley, Gamble Montessori’s Agriculture teacher helped identify a few locations around the school where a rain garden could be installed. One of those was in a grassy area that in the spring, the school had previously installed pipes through the curb to try and eliminate flooding in the parking lot.

Ms. Dudley really wanted to pursue the rain garden and over the summer received permission from the school’s principle. In the meantime, the GIG team applied for and received a $1500 mini-grant from Green Umbrella to design and build the garden.

Next, the team went to work:

  • OKI’s Senior Planner David Rutter, worked on the design of the rain garden.
  • Brian Wamsley from Hamilton County Planning worked on the materials list.
  • John Mangan with the Mill Creek Alliance put together the work schedule.
  • Emily Imhoff, chair of the Green Umbrella Watershed Action Team helped arrange volunteers.
  • Mary Dudley took David’s planting list and procured the plants within her budget.

Now that the hard part was done, it was time to break ground on the 400ft^2 rain garden! With the expected Cincinnati rain delay here and there, the garden was constructed within five days. The students participated as much as they could and did most of the planting and spreading of mulch. The digging of the rain garden was greatly facilitated by the Mill Creek Alliance’s Green Team, headed by Tanner Yess. The project could not have been completed without their help.

David Rutter was excited to get back to his teaching roots and provide his expertise. He estimates that the garden should treat a bit over 120,000 gallons of stormwater a year!

OKI is more than transportation solutions and has a commitment to water quality and better stormwater management throughout the region. Over the past few years, OKI has produced the My Community’s Water, treesandstormwater.org (this website is currently offline) and Environmental Resources applications to assist in this mission. Be on the look-out for our ‘101 on the Clean Water Act Section 208’ video in spring of 2019!

If you have any questions about partnering with the GIG team, or questions on how to build your own low-mow rain garden, contact David Rutter at drutter@oki.org.

An aerial view during the planning process.

David Rutter’s sketch of the plans for the rain garden layout.