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.
LOVE & GREENERY
The Acadian Rain Garden Team
Since receiving funding from the 24CP, the Acadiana Rain Garden team has initiated the following tasks:
1. Successful receipt of funding from donors to the UL Lafayette 501 c3 fund.
2. Initiated conversations with LCG Environmental Quality diviison
3. Initiated conversations with Project Front Yard regarding their goals to create 10,000 rain gardens
4. Confirmed locations for installation with Girard Park (Parks and Rec) and the fountain at City Hall (LCG)
5. Completed an 811 survey of the Girard park site for underground cables (i.e. call before you dig)
6. Obtained blue prints of drainage for fountain site at City Hall
7. Met with Engels & Volkers who expressed interest in us creating educational materials for home owners on rain gardens and water management.
Our next steps and new goals include a charette with several landscape architects for mid-November. At this work session we will design the layout of the rain gardens. After the charette, we will price and purchase plants, and any additional materials necessary for successful implementation of the two proposed rain gardens.
We are still on track to our original timeline and plan to install the rain gardens in Spring 2018.
As far as ‘lessons learned’, our project depends on the same 3 pillars of real estate: ‘LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION’. We are lucky to have found two sites that meet our project goals: 1. they are subject to high saturation and water runoff and 2. they are in public spaces with high traffic.