Duluth is trying an experiment to see how much storm water a neighborhood can prevent from entering nearby streams.
With its steep slopes, clay soil, and bedrock, the city has a lot of trouble with runoff when it rains.
UMD researcher Valerie Brady, who is coordinating the project, said it includes rain gardens, ditches, and rain barrels.
"The rain garden plants have deeper roots than grass, so the rain that runs off the lawn into those rain gardens has better chance of soaking into ground and becoming groundwater," Brady said
The groundwater replenishes local streams, giving them a more even flow throughout the year.
"A 50-gallon rain barrel doesn't sound like lot, but if lots of people are doing it, then that adds up," Brady said. "So we're holding that much water back, and then a couple of days after it rains, the people will either use the water on their lawns or gardens or just let the water drain out."
Next summer, researchers will measure the storm water from the experimental area and compare it to runoff measured last year.