Meek Retention Pond Native Plantings
Project Participant: Amanda Marshall
The goal of this project is to plant a rain garden(s) near the retention pond outside of Meek Aquatics Center at Ohio Wesleyan University. This project will not only add to the aesthetic value of a relatively barren area of campus, it will lessen Ohio Wesleyan’s and Meek’s environmental footprint. The aquatic center’s roof is made of nonporous material. As a result there is more rain runoff, risk of intensified floods and possibly an increase in local water pollution. To mitigate these impacts, the retention pond was build to catch some of the runoff water. However, adding a rain garden will help filter pollutants and absorb rainwater back into the soil. Additionally, planting native species of plants will attract and provide habitat for native Ohio wildlife.
These ecological benefits especially go hand in hand with Meek Aquatic Center because the center embodies low impact, and eco-friendly development. The building is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified, features a geothermal heating system, a reflective clay tile roof and the building materials are either local, recycled, low-voc (volatile organic chemical). The building plans were made to fit conservation and sustainability goals on campus. It is appropriate that the nearby grounds support the environment and wildlife as well.
This project was initiated by Caitlin Mcnoughtan and Cynthia hastings and continued by Luke Steffen in 2015. My role in this project would be evaluate, finish and execute the plans they have laid in place. The Building and Grounds Department has approved of two areas where we can plant the rain gardens. These areas are around the semicircular patio on the northwest side of the pond and around a dead willow tree on the sloping area on the north point of the pond. The garden around the patio will border (with a three foot clearance) the side of the patio facing the pond, and semicircular in shape. The extremities will be 2 feet wide and the middle of the semicircle will be 8 feet wide. The second garden will span a twelve-foot radius around the willow tree. This garden will be circular in shape, excluding where the pond is. Due to their gentle slope, these areas work well for the purpose of a rain garden. The water will trickle down the slope and enter the garden areas. Additionally, they follow the pre-existing architecture of the grounds and will add to the aesthetic beauty of the area.
To build the gardens, a six-foot ditch will need to be dug where they will be placed. Hopefully grant money from FLOW will be able to pay for this expenditure, materials, and plants. The ditch will then need to be filed with sand, silt, and topsoil moisture. A wall will also need to be put in place to border the garden. This wall will likely be made of rocks and will help protect the plants within the garden, and preserve the topsoil. Then with the help of volunteers from the Treehouse SLU and EW club, we will plant the garden!! The plants previously suggested are nodding pink onion, white wild indigo, purple prairie clover, purple cone flower, stiff golden root, ironweed, joe pye weed, turtle head, prairie blazing star swamp milkweed, fox sedge, and new England asters. These native plants were specially picked for the soil and topography of the area. They will also add to the quality, health, and beauty of the area for years to come.
I think it would be nice to do a PowerPoint presentation on the project with photos of the process, planting, and before and after images of the grounds.
Goals of this project – First I would explain why this project benefits the environment and the Ohio Wesleyan community. I would describe how rain gardens in general are implemented to mitigate the environmental impacts of non-porous construction materials. Then I would go into how this particular rain garden helps Ohio Wesleyan. I will talk about the runoff from Meek, percolation of that runoff into the soil, and adding aesthetic value to a kind of barren area of campus.
Process – I will first briefly describe what my predecessors accomplished for this project. Then I will go into detail about my role. I will describe and show how we acquired funding, plants, the building process and the fun planting day!
Impact – I would like to add a slide to the presentation on what we can do as individuals to promote native wildlife health at our own property. Specifically, I would like to bring up the importance of planting native plants in our yards.
Conclusion – I will conclude my presentation with photos of the finished product. I may include photos of fully-grown rain gardens to give the class an idea of what the garden around Meek pond will look like when fully grown (and not just as dirt and saplings/seeds)
“Benefits of Going Native.” Benefits of Going Native. North Carolina State University, n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2016.
This site explains the benefits of planting native plant species on landscapes. The site describes how it is beneficial for people, wildlife, and in protection from non-native invasive species.
Fink, Dan. “Advice on Planting Strategies and Species.” Interview by Amanda Marshall.
Dan Fink is a Chemistry and Zoology Professor at Ohio Wesleya University. He is currently converting his property from farmland to habitat for native wildlife. I discussed the project with him and he provided advice on how to further the project.
Galatowitsch, Susan M. Ecological Restoration. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates, 2012. Print.
This is a textbook on ecological restoration. I read it for an independent study last year and reviewed pertinent passages for this project.
“Grasses (Seed).” Native Grasses. Ohio Prairie Nursery, 2016. Web. 23 Feb. 2016.
This is the website of the Ohio Prairie Nursury, a native seed producer. This website includes information on available native grass seeds that can be purchased, and their descriptions.
Jordan, Karen J. “The Use of Retention Ponds in Residential Settings.” THE USE OF RETENTION PONDS IN RESIDENTIAL SETTINGS. University of South Alabama, n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2016.
This is an article published by a professor from the University of South Alabama. It describes how retention ponds are beneficial to use in residential areas, not just high industrial areas. It goes into how retention ponds are beneficial to the environment and her study at Darby Creek within the Dog River watershed.
“Planning Your Rain Garden.” Central Ohio Rain Garden Initiative. N.p., 2011. Web. 23 Feb. 2016.
This is a website about rain gardens in Ohio. It describes the benefits of rain gardens and how to build them. This site is helpful because it gives tips on building rain gardens specifically in Ohio
“Rain Garden Design Templates – What Is a Rain Garden?” Rain Garden Design Templates – What Is a Rain Garden? Low Impact Development Center, 2007. Web. 23 Feb. 2016.
This is an article on the Low Impact Development Center’s website about rain gardens. It describes their uses, and how to build them.
“Regional Plant List – Indiana, IN, Ohio, OH.” Regional Plant List – Indiana, IN, Ohio, OH. N.p., 2004. Web. 23 Feb. 2016.
This website is a database of native plants for every state in the U.S. It also provides useful information on where nurseries are to obtain these plants. This website may be helpful if plans need to be changed pertaining to which plants to implement.
Steffen, Luke. A Preliminary Plan for 2 Rain Gardens Near the Meek Aquatics Center Retention Pond at OWU (Fall 2015). 2015. Print.
This is my predecessors’ report on the project. It provides information on the history of the aquatic center, the process of formulating rain garden plans, and schematics for the rain garden.
“What Is Nonpoint Source?” EPA. Environmental Protection Agency, 5 Jan. 2016. Web. 23 Feb. 2016.
This is an article on the EPA’s website explaining nonpoint source pollution. It describes how nonpoint source pollution occurs, its impacts on the environment, and how to mitigate it.