Programs & Initiatives

Become a Rain Garden Steward

Rain Garden Stewards

Becoming a rain garden steward is a rewarding way to care for your community and protect New York City’s rivers and streams or waterways.

If there are rain gardens in your neighborhood that you’d like to help care for, please contact us at 718-610-1864 or raingardens@dep.nyc.gov! All levels of interest and experience are welcome.

To learn how rain gardens protect our waterways and improve our communities, visit Rain Gardens.

What to Expect After Contacting Us

After you contact us, we’ll work with you to assess your level of interest and experience. We’ll figure out the best rain garden(s) for you to maintain and then schedule a hands-on training session that is customized for you. At the training session, we’ll show you how to safely care for a rain garden and provide all of the equipment and tools. All you need to do is show up! We encourage all interested individuals, groups and organizations to get in touch with us.

What does a rain garden steward do?

If you don’t have gardening experience, we’ll train you to perform simple maintenance tasks a few times a month, mainly rain garden clean-up.

If you have some gardening experience, we’ll train you to perform general horticultural tasks, including litter and sediment removal, weeding, and curb cut maintenance a few times a month.

If you represent an environmental group or organization, especially one with horticultural knowledge and volunteer mechanisms already in place, we’ll train your organization to perform more complex maintenance and gardening tasks.

We can also organize a planting event with you. This opportunity is open to rain garden stewards of all experience levels and group sizes.

Can stewards select the rain garden(s) they’d like to maintain?

Yes! There may be some limitations depending on your level of experience and whether or not the rain garden is under guarantee. These are all things that we can determine after you reach out to us.

How does DEP care for rain gardens?

We care for New York City’s expansive network of Rain Gardens citywide. We inspect them at least once a week, as well as remove litter and sediment that stormwater may have carried in. We also pull weeds, prune trees and shrubs, and monitor plants to make sure they are thriving.