Dear Community,

The Acadian Rain Garden Team is growing more and more every day (please excuse the pun, we’re just a bunch of nerds). Since our last update, our team has made major leaps and bounds in regard to designing our gardens.

We’ve been meeting on a bi-monthly basis. We’ve connected with Dr. Emad Habib (UL Lafayette Civil Engineering), an expert in hydrology, to discuss our local watershed. He and his graduate students provided us with an excellent GIS map of the Vermilion watershed. We plan to use this in our educational materials, to help people connect with their placement in the greater ecosystem. We’ve created a first draft of our educational signage and look forward to refining it with a graphic artist.

As a bunch of plant lovers ourselves, we finalized a list of native plant species that meet the desired qualities of our rain garden plants. These species are 1) native, 2) possess deep penetrating root systems to help absorb water, 3) provide aboveground structure to help filter debris from flood waters, 4) flood-tolerant and drought-tolerant, 5) aesthetically pleasing, and 6) provide ecological value and services.

In November 2017, team member John Oliver, AKA our resident landscape architect, led a charette. Together, his group collaboratively designed a first draft for the garden at Girard Park and the fountain site at city hall. In January 2018, John and the rest of our team refined that draft by determining which species of plants would be most suitable and by conducting a field survey of the site. We measured and marked our site, conducted a soil-water penetration test to determine the ability of the existing soil to absorb water, and measured elevation at the site. John return to the original sketch and refined it with our new additions. We have since sent this updated draft of our rain garden to the Parks and Rec department and look forward to their comments.

We still hope to break ground on this project by Spring 2018. In the coming months, we will be finalizing our designs, educational materials, ordering plants, and locating a source for soil and compost.

The Acadian Rain Garden Team