Cummins volunteers helped plant more than 500 native plants in the bioswales at the Pathway to Water Quality at the Bartholomew County Fairgrounds on Sept. 28.

A bioswale is a storm water runoff conveyance system that can provide an alternative to storm sewers. It can help slow the runoff from heavy rains and help the soil absorb the rain before it enters the storm drains. Bioswales improve water quality by infiltrating and filtering pollutants from storm water runoff, said Heather Shireman, Bartholomew County Soil and Water Conservation District coordinator.

Native, thick plants and grasses help filter out the grasses. The Cummins employees planted sedges, grasses, milkweed and other pollinating plants.

Native plants are important to plant, because they need less water and no fertilizer. They are adapted to Indiana rainfall patterns and are more resistant to local pests and disease. Native plants are also extremely important to pollinators and other local Indiana wildlife, Shireman said.

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The Pathway to Water Quality is a watershed demonstration that, when completed, will walk residents through practical displays and information about how proper management practices at home, on the farm and in business can protect soil and water resources, Shireman said.