Stormwater BMP Material Assistance Program

The City of Dubuque has implemented a Stormwater Best Management Practice (BMP) Material Assistance Program to encourage residents to make improvements on their property to reduce the quantity or improve the quality of stormwater runoff from their site.

Typical projects may include:

  • Rain Gardens
  • Bio-Retention Swales
  • Permeable Paving Systems
  • and Streambank Restoration
Other practices may be evaluated. Funding of this program is limited and renewed on a fiscal year basis which runs from July 1 through June 30. Assistance is for materials only. The City may reimburse up to $1,000 or 50% of the total project cost, whichever is less. All implementation of the project is the responsibility of the property owner. 

To apply for this program, residents need to complete a Stormwater BMP Material Assistance Application. For questions, contact Deron Muehring with the City of Dubuque Engineering Department at (563) 589-4276 or by email at

» Stormwater BMP Material Assistance Application
Examples of Best Management Practices
200904-rain-garden 200 x 225
Rain Gardens

A rain garden is a specially designed garden, with a man-made depression, that collects and infiltrates stormwater runoff. Rain gardens are usually planted with native flowerings, plants, or grasses. The deep root structures of the native plants allow the rain water and runoff to infiltrate back down into the ground rather than to run off of the property thus managing the stormwater on site. Each rain garden design is unique and dependent on the site condition and the owner’s personal tastes.

» Find more information about rain gardens.
Impervious Surface Reduction
Permeable Paving Systems
Roads, parking lots, and driveways account for over 60% of impervious surfaces in urban areas. Consequently, pavement is the largest generator of stormwater runoff. Permeable paving systems capture stormwater and allow it to seep into the ground recharging groundwater, reducing stormwater runoff, and filtering out pollutants. It comes in the form of permeable asphalt, permeable concrete, and permeable pavers. Water passes though voids in the paving material or through the spaces between the pavers into layers of rock below the surface until it filters gradually into the soil below. A perforated drain tile is also installed in the rock chamber.

» Find more information about permeable paving systems.
» Find more information about the City's green alley program.
Bioswales achieve the same goals as rain gardens by slowing and filtering stormwater, but are designed to manage a specified amount of runoff from a large impervious area, such as a parking lot or roadway. Because they need to accommodate greater quantities of stormwater, they often require use of engineered soils and are deeper than rain gardens. They are also linear systems that are greater in length than width. Like rain gardens, they are vegetated with plants that can withstand both heavy watering and drought.

» Find more information for more information about bioswales.
Rain Barrel 5
Rain Barrels
A rain barrel is a container used to collect and store rainwater from your roof that would otherwise be lost to runoff and diverted out onto your property or to a storm drain and eventually to local streams or rivers. They typically hold 40-60 gallons of water and can be purchased or made with parts available at any hardware store. Rain barrels are also an economical way to store rain water to be used as a secondary water supply for indoor plants, flower gardens, lawns, fill the bird bath, and washing cars and windows.

Please note that although rain barrels are highly encouraged, they are not eligible for the City's BMP Stormwater Material Assistance Program. 

» Find more information about rain barrels.

Helpful Link

For additional information regarding the various types of stormwater best management practices, visit Rainscaping Iowa, a statewide Education Campaign.