UACES Facebook It’s a garden. It’s a water filter. It’s a bioswale!
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It’s a garden. It’s a water filter. It’s a bioswale!

By Mary Hightower

U of A System Division of Agriculture 

Fast facts:

  • Demonstration ‘bioswale’ helps absorb and treat stormwater runoff
  • Garden helps provide wildlife food and habitat
  • City of Springdale, Cooperative Extension Service collaborated on demonstration

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SPRINGDALE, Ark. – It might look like any other garden with mulch, stones and plants, but the bioswale at Springdale’s Recycling Drop-Off Center has secret powers: it acts like a sponge to reduce stormwater runoff and help keep stormwater clean.

Bioswale Project

GARDEN SPONGE -- Eric Casson, left, and Angel Cruz, both of the Springdale Public Works signs and marking department, install an interpretive sign for a bioswale at the Springdale Recycling Collection Center on Lowell Road. The City of Springdale and Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service constructed the "bioswale," a garden that also soaks up and filters rainwater runoff, at the Springdale Recycling Collection Center. (U of A System Division of Agriculture photo by Fred Miller)

The garden is actually a “biofiltration” basin constructed through a collaboration between Springdale and the Cooperative Extension Service, part of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. As a Tree City USA community, the Springdale project was supported by the Urban Forestry Program of the Arkansas Forestry Commission and the U.S. Forest Service.

“This is a great example of ‘green infrastructure’,” said Katie Teague, Washington County extension agent for the Division of Agriculture. “The basin collects, absorbs and filters stormwater. The amended soil mix is planted with native trees, shrubs, grasses, and flowering perennials that also provide shade and habitat for wildlife.”

An interpretive sign explains the function and benefits of the basin.

“This demonstration promotes public understanding of green infrastructure. Residents visiting the recycling center can learn how they can better manage stormwater on their own property,” said Teague.

Water that is collected and filtered by the bioswale eventually runs into Spring Creek, part of the Illinois River Watershed.

To learn more about green infrastructure and stormwater issues, contact your county extension office or visit

About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.  

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.   

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126