The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) builds and maintains rain gardens (also known as right-of-way bioswales) to manage stormwater runoff from streets and sidewalks and improve water quality in local waterways.

A rain garden with black metal fence around a variety of plants. There is a sign explaining what rain gardens do with text and a diagram. There is a curb inlet and outlet to allow stormwater to enter the rain garden. The black metal fence has a bright blue DEP sticker or decal that says rain garden.

Rain gardens are planted areas that may look similar to a street tree pit or small garden. You can identify a rain garden by the following features:

  • Black metal fence with a bright blue DEP rain garden decal or educational sign along the fence post
  • Tree and/or a variety of plants
  • Curb inlet and outlet that allow stormwater to enter the rain garden
  • Low area in the center to collect stormwater

You can report these conditions in a rain garden:

  • Debris - litter or trash accumulation
  • Planting - unhealthy, damaged, or missing plants
  • Structure - guard rail, sidewalk, or curb damage

Attaching pictures or videos of the condition will help DEP locate and address the problem more efficiently.

DEP schedules new Rain Garden plantings and manages regular planting maintenance during the spring and fall seasons.

Rain gardens and other types of green infrastructure have positive environmental impacts, including:

  • Beautifying neighborhoods
  • Purifying the air
  • Reducing temperatures during hot weather
  • Improving street drainage, and
  • Reducing puddles and ponds

Learn more about DEP’s Rain Gardens.

Download the NYC Rain Gardens Brochure.

If you have questions or want more information about rain gardens you can contact DEP by email or phone.

By Email

By Phone

Call 311 or 212-NEW-YORK (212-639-9675) for help.

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