An important way to keep our lakes clean is by preventing nutrients and sediments from running off your lawn, roof, or driveway into the lake. You can do this by collecting rainwater in barrels, allowing rainwater to collect in a rain garden, and slowing down fast-moving water in a stone trench. Sediment will build up where ever water drains directly into the lake. Stone trenches are used throughout the reservation to move water.

Rain Gardens can be seen along West ShoreTrail, Woodbine Terrace, and between Fairway Trail and the Golf Club property on Lake Mohawk. These trenches help remove sediment as water flows through them before draining into the lake. To be most effective, they are cleaned out periodically of collected sediment.

Rain gardens capture water from an impervious surface and allow water to out filter slowly into the ground. They can minimize flooding and erosion on small Lake Mohawk properties. Rain gardens are better than lawns at helping the ground absorb water and can decrease pollutants entering our lakes by as much as 30 percent. Even a small rain garden in the right location can make a big difference.

A rain garden will resemble a typical garden, although it is planted slightly below grade. A variety of grasses, wildflowers, and woody plants-specifically native plants- are used as they have adapted to our New Jersey climate. Native plants require minimal maintenance once they are established. In 2016,  on Memorial Day, we dedicated our Boardwalk Demonstration Rain Garden to Russell A. Beierle. This demonstration garden is located toward the end of the boardwalk near the spillway. Take a look and consider how a rain garden will fit in your landscape. 

Russell A. Beierle Rain Garden


  • Most native plants produce long root systems which loosen the soil creating a sponge zone where pollutants and contaminants are safely captured, filtered and prevented from entering waterways.

  • Their deep root systems lessen the impacts of floods and droughts.

  • Native trees, shrubs, flowers, and grasses provide biodiversity and preserve species in our developed communities.

  • They are of high habitat value providing food, shelter, and nesting areas for wildlife, especially birds, butterflies, and beneficial insects.

  • These plants are naturally resilient to harmful insects and disease thus eliminating the need for pesticide application.

  • Since they are best adapted to local conditions, chemical fertilizers are not needed.

  • Water conservation is another benefit since once they are established in the right place there is no need for supplemental watering.

  • Indigenous plants absorb water more efficiently than turf grasses, surviving both dry and wet conditions and thriving without a lot of care.

Volunteers keeping the Rain Garden at Beach 6 clean.