Collaboration with L&C to Save Local Greenhouse From Washing Away

Alexander Gent

A volunteer from Senior Services Plus discovered a runoff and erosion problem that threatened to damage a greenhouse on site and was inspired to donate more of his time to recruit local help and find a solution to the problem.

“SSP is doing important work for our community, despite a sharp decrease of funding to support meals on wheels,” Thom Rhanor said. “I saw an opportunity to contribute my specialized knowledge about soils, and to leverage my employer, Monsanto, and the people I know from Lewis and Clark Community College to address the problem.”

Thom Rhanor is a research associate at Monsanto as well as the spouse of Allison Rhanor, an environmental educator at The National Great Rivers Research Center, and together with the help of Scott Moss, Restoration Ecology Coordinator here at Lewis and Clark, and SSP Executive Director Jonathan Becker, they applied for funding through a grant provided by Illinois American Water which is designed to improve water quality on a watershed scale while also including the community and multiorganizational partnerships.

The solution proposed in the application involves a system of stormwater controls at SSP with a native plant rain garden to simultaneously help alleviate or reduce water runoff, and erosion issues while also reducing detrimental effects to a nearby stream that feeds into the west fork of Wood River Creek.

Illinois American Water awarded a grant of $3,500, Monsanto funded a second greenhouse, and Moss will coordinate with SSP to ensure the control feature ties into and supports the new building expansion.

“If every project going forward attempted to address stormwater concerns on site with simple, sustainable goals, we would have few flooding issues in urban areas.” Moss said about SSP’s choice to seek out a collaborative solution.

With a goal of completion sometime in the fall, a storm retention structure will be built with the help of Lewis and Clark Students.

Volunteers will include but will not be limited to students within the Restoration Ecology Program, and Moss would like to extend the invitation to all Lewis and Clark students who are interested in donating their time. Any students interested can contact Mr. Moss by email at

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