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Clean Water, Green Parks: Stormwater Management in Heartland Park

Photo courtesy of Recreation Coordinator Ryan Howell

Photo courtesy of Ryan Howell, Recreation Coordinator

In the spirit of City Parks Alliance’s upcoming webinar, Stormwater Management: Partnerships and Best Practices, today’s focus on green infrastructure takes us to Wentzville, Missouri, where The Dry Branch Watershed: Clear Stormwater and Green Parks Project is underway. While the initiative contains several provisions addressing non-point source water pollution in the area, the construction of Heartland Park is innovative and comes with some great stormwater management controls worth exploring.

Scheduled to complete construction this coming fall, Heartland Park is funded in part by a 319 Grant awarded in 2011 by the EPA through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.  Implementation of a Watershed Management Plan helped the development of Heartland Park’s green infrastructure. The City of Wentzville’s Stormwater Management Coordinator, Jaime Paige, took the time to elucidate some of the pioneering features of Heartland, which she referred to as the “beginning face of how new parks are going to look.”  Picture 50 acres of lush parkland just off of a city’s main commercial area, strategically decorated with native plants, featuring a 7-acre lake with wetlands and trails alongside two synthetic-turf playing fields, all incorporated into the park’s landscape.

Photo during construction courtesy of Ryan Howell, Recreation Coordinator

Photo during construction courtesy of Ryan Howell, Recreation Coordinator

Focusing on the stormwater management perspective, Heartland will employ the lake as a detention facility for runoff. The park will drain 500 acres upstream, mainly from the city’s commercial area, collecting water from parking lots and typically trash- and pollutant- infused waters from transportation corridors. There will be a forebay (a small pool) to filter the pollutants in the water coming into the lake, avoiding the need for dredging. To help absorb water during rainfall, aquatic planting will surround the lower perimeter of the lake, complementing the wetlands installed at Heartland as part of the terrain’s native meadow and riparian lake buffers. There will be a walking trail built over the grounds and an interpretive trail as well. The park will utilize rain gardens, pervious pavement, athletic field biofilters, and parking lot bioswales to further help slow the volume and quantity of stormwater runoff before going into the lake. With biofilter zones for bioretention in parking areas, water can be treated twice.

For more on partnerships and best practices for stormwater management, be sure to join the webinar on September 23 at 3:00 PM (EDT) to hear from Kyle Dreyfuss-Wells, the Manager of Watershed Programs for the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, and Steven Rodie, Professor of Biology and Director of the Center for Urban Sustainability at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

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