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This fact sheet is one of a 15-part series on urban stormwater management practices.
Please refer to definitions in the glossary at the end of this fact sheet. Glossary terms are italicized on first mention in the text. For a comprehensive list, see “Urban Stormwater: Terms and Definitions,” Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) publication 426-119.
A bioretention cell, or rain garden, is a best management practice (BMP) designed to treat stormwater runoff from roofs, driveways, walkways, or lawns. They are a shallow, landscaped depression that receives and treats polluted stormwater with the goal of discharging water of a quality and quantity similar to that of a forested watershed (figure 1).
Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.
Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.
September 6, 2013