Tubs, Hoses and Stuff

UNL research on building/parking lot runoff

Tools UNL researchers are using to monitor runoff from buildings and parking lots

If you visit our office, you might wonder about the blue plastic tubs with hoses and “stuff” connected to them (photo). There is one set on the building and one down a drainage slope by the parking lot. University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers are monitoring runoff from our building roof and parking.  This information will be used to help researchers work on reducing non-source point pollution coming from urban features like buildings and paved lots.

Bit of “Buzz” on the Cherry Creek Habitat: We’re getting more mulch soon to help conserve moisture for plants. We had so much rain and now it looks like we’re going to slide back into a drought pattern. I stopped by this weekend to water some of the newer plantings. The big cottontail rabbit who was busy munching on some of the plantings was surprised! MJ added a low-tech water feature today for insects. The feature is also perfect for the birds. Our resident robins seem most excited and vocal about all of the improvements we’re doing. Soon we’ll be putting together the components for the insect hotel. Can’t wait until this fall when we can do some more plantings.

Here’s to Sharing the Buzz!

Soni

UNL Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere – http://lancaster.unl.edu

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It rained!

Wetlands

Cherry Creek habitat – last year’s cattail stalks in a marshy area. April 2013

It rained last night. Most of Nebraska is still in a drought – every drop of rain helps! I hope when we get back to the office on Monday the berm we started is still intact and held the runoff from the office roof. If not, that’s OK. The berm is a work in progress – we’ll shore it up.

I’m sure the plants/wildlife at the neighboring saline wetlands appreciate the rain. You know, we haven’t talked about our neighbors. Just to the north of our Cherry Creek site, is an amazing resource few people know about. It is the Lincoln Saline Wetlands Nature Center, 92 acres of unique habitat. Map

What’s a Saline Wetlands? From the Lower Platte South Natural Resources District who manages the sites in our area: “When the ground water rises to the surface a wetland is created. When that water passes through salt deposits on its way up, a saline wetlands is created. Lincoln, Nebraska is one of the very few places on earth where that happens…. ” Continue reading

Runoff to rain garden

One of the features in our habitat plan is to include a rain garden and berm. This should help eliminate some of the runoff from the roof of our building. The runoff is causing some erosion problems and could carry pollutants to the small wetlands area on the northern edge of the habitat.

What’s a rain garden? A rain garden is a small area designed to temporarily hold and allow water to soak in to the soil. It isn’t a pond or wetlands. In fact, most of the time it is dry. Rain gardens can be both beautiful and functional.  A mix of perennial flowers, ornamental grasses and woody shrubs adapted to both wet and dry conditions can be used in a rain garden. We intend to use plants that will also benefit wildlife/pollinators.

About 4-5 years ago, rain gardens created quite a “buzz” around our community. I’ve got a couple spots around my own home where I should seriously consider a rain garden. Add that to my “to do” list!

Our local government has a resource page to help people create their own rain gardens. Check it out:

https://www.lincoln.ne.gov/city/pworks/watrshed/educate/garden/

Here’s to Sharing the Buzz!

Soni

UNL Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere – http://lancaster.unl.edu