Cathedral Church of St. Paul

The Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Des Moines put in conservation practices to do their part in preventing runoff and promoting infiltration at their church located in downtown Des Moines. 

Q. What water quality practices do you use on your property?  
A. In 2010, the church retrofitted their parking lot with permeable pavers, bioretention cells and a raingarden.  The location in downtown Des Moines was void of any animal and very little plant life until the conservation practices were put in.  The combination of the three different practices created a final product that moves water off the ground and into the soil, controls flash flooding, creates wildlife for animal and insects, and filters many pollutants in the urban setting.   

Q. Why did you voluntarily adopt these practices?
A. Pastor Cathleen Bascom led the church in adoption of these voluntary urban conservation practices with a great amount of support from the church congregation. A stewardship group in the church with a passion for land conservation felt called to do something.  When the asphalt parking lot needed replaced, they took their opportunity!  

Q. What, if any, assistance (financial as well as technical) did you receive to employ these practices?
A. Drake University and RDG Planning and Design worked with the church for the initial concept design. Polk County Soil and Water Conservation District educated the church leaders on options for different urban conservation practices. The Department of Natural Resources supported the project with its initial funding of $100,000. SRF State Revolving Fund provided financial support also. Youth education and outreach events were supported by Trees Forever. All partners and even individual church members with environmental experience worked together to make this concept a reality.

Q. What is your environmental philosophy as it relates to your property and business?
A. The congregation at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul felt it’s best to protect the land they were given. “We have this piece of land from God and we should treat it well.” In being stewards of the land, they also created new connections with neighbors and their community.