A colorful sign installed this week at the edge of Jaycee Park brings a constructed wetlands project to a close and opens the area for an educational opportunity.
“The sign briefly introduces the ‘landscape for clean water’ concept, why it’s important, and it has an infographic to show how it works — where this water comes from and where it goes —
and shows native tree species for people to identify,” said Clay Barber, environmental projects coordinator for Sound Rivers.
The sign installation wraps up a project started in 2018, when the City of Greenville Public Works Department, Greenville Parks and Recreation, Sound Rivers, East Carolina University and N.C. State University took on a water quality-project from Greenville’s Greens Mill Run Watershed Master Plan.
“There was a failed detention pond that was just a mess and wasn’t serving any purpose as far as water quality and reducing the flow of stormwater, so Matt Butler, my predecessor, put together this innovative stormwater plan to do a retrofit of the detention pond and turn it into an effective wetland,” Barber said.
Instead of starting from scratch, its creators decided to orient the stormwater project around existing bottomland hardwood trees, then planted a few more.
“It’s designed around the trees, and the hope is that that will aid in native biodiversity and shade out invasive vegetation on the floor. So, it’s kind of an experiment,” Barber said.
The constructed wetlands purpose is three-fold, according to Barber: “First, and foremost, you’re trying to reduce the amount of nutrients that make it to an already impaired waterway. Second, it will reduce the speed and flow of the water into that creek, helping prevent flooding. And third, it’s an educational example of how we can work with the environment to manage stormwater.”
The wetland project is adjacent to Reedy Branch Creek, a tributary of Greens Mill Run that flows into the Tar River.
In addition to the Jaycee Park project, the City of Greenville has undertaken several stormwater-management projects in recent years, most notably, the Town Creek Culvert project completed in the fall of 2020. Sound Rivers has previously partnered with ECU to build rain gardens and stormwater wetlands at several locations on the university’s campus.
Read the full sign: