WILMINGTON — From pervious pavement to the cognizant construction of buildings, improving the water quality of local water sources has been an ongoing effort and now, the New Hanover County Arboretum has received some upgrades to help improve the water quality of Bradley Creek.
“An innovative design was constructed to redirect stormwater runoff from the Arboretum’s roof-tops, paved areas and parking lots formerly flowing through storm pipes into the headwaters of Bradley Creek. Now, the runoff will flow into an engineered infiltration system located beneath the sandy soil of an existing low area, where it slowly percolates into the ground, allowing pollutants to be removed and improving the health of Bradley Creek. Community volunteers will be planting the area with native plants, which represents the final phase to the completion of this unique project,” according to a press release from the N.C. Coastal Federation.
According to the Federation, the planting event will emulate Wolfgang Oehme and James Van Sweden’s garden style of the ‘New American Garden.’
“The newest additions to the Arboretum will be planted in the New American Garden style with layered masses of foliage full of color and texture. Native and low maintenance plants will be chosen that require little use of water, fertilizer or pesticides,” Lloyd Singleton, Director of Cooperative Extension at the New Hanover County Arboretum said. “The N.C. Cooperative Extension is excited to collaborate with the federation to improve our stormwater management. We are committed to reducing our stormwater runoff and improving water quality with the new stormwater infiltration zone. We hope that this can serve as a model for other commercial properties as well as provide inspiration for homeowners.”
This planting event will draw from the Arboretum’s robust volunteer corps and the federation’s internship program. After the final planting event, the project will be used to demonstrate this unique low impact development technique with the addition of educational signage along a self-guided walkway. The gardens attract approximately 70,000 visitors annually.
This project is sponsored by the federation, N.C. State University Cooperative Extension and New Hanover County Arboretum. It is one of a number of successful projects implemented under the Bradley and Hewletts Creek Watershed Plan.