Where storm water contributes to environmental challenges, carefully planned landscaping and pond planting provides an effective means of reducing local water pollution and flooding. Storm water runoff comes from snow, rainwater, and domestic and commercial activity on rooftops, roads, driveways, sidewalks, and even mowed lawns. Sandra Kok, of Environment Canada’s Great Lakes Sustainability Fund, in the Water Quality Research Journal of Canada, explained that in the Great Lakes Region, “Municipal wastewater includes sewage and wet-weather related discharges, primarily combined with sewer overflows and storm water runoff.”
Such runoff, research has shown, contributes to local and even regional water pollution. For example, the State of New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation reported that storm water runoff, figuring out uncontrollable atmospheric and legacy pollution, contributed to impaired water quality in 75% of all waters and, in 61% of them, was a major contributor.
Well designed storm water management ponds can help manage runoff water volume, flow, and quality.
Storm water management ponds sometimes occur naturally, but most result from carefully planned landscape development of commercial, residential, or public properties. They may, if properly designed, built, and maintained, offer an effective solution to the problems associated with urban surface waters, and they provide a number of other benefits to property owners and local communities.
By slowing and reducing runoff flow rates, well-designed ponds decrease local soil erosion and flooding that could lead to unsightly gullying and soil loss. Storm water management pond landscapes help store excess water and encourage local infiltration.
Storm water management ponds also contribute to improved water quality, through filtration and biological processes.
Native plant communities on landscaped pond sites provide diverse ecological services, including biological filtration of storm water with domestic and commercial pollutants.
Property owners near well-designed, highly visible pond sites benefit from their aesthetic contributions to the landscape, including well-adapted native trees, shrubs, wildflowers, grasses, and sedges. Geoscape Contracting is familiar with the use and strategic placement of these species can help land managers control storm water runoff while beautifying neighbourhoods and public areas.
Geoscape has vast knowledge regarding which plants work best in different parts of the pond area to generate the needed water management services while requiring minimal maintenance. By strategic plant selection and placement, landscapers can prevent situations that lead to invasion by unsightly, invasive exotic species that turn poorly designed pond systems into costly, high maintenance eyesores.
Storm water management ponds provide important habitat for native wildlife, like birds and butterflies.
In areas where extensive urban development has reduced or highly fragmented natural habitat, the ponds and their watersheds provide important corridors that “connect” isolated populations of species, facilitating genetic diversity maintenance in local flora and fauna populations.
The rainwater management pond and native species used in and around the pond also provide urbanites with learning sites that property owners can take pride in providing as educational resources. There, visitors can learn about native plants and animals, the water cycle, and how landscape planning and design can contribute to a healthier environment while providing storm water containment services.
Community education, through the use of professionally landscaped and storm water management ponds, plays an important role in helping inhabitants understand the need for these water management areas and how they can benefit native plant communities, native fauna, and overall biodiversity conservation. Effective, professional planning of ponds and nearby landscape elements increases property values, educational opportunities, and long-term management cost savings to the communities that invest in them.
Geoscape Contracting and our collaborators work hard to build landscapes that provide these benefits to the Southern Ontario communities where we work. Landscape planning, development, and implementation requires skilled, professional landscapers. Adding conservation value to protect biodiversity and provide other benefits requires knowledge of the horticultural and ecological characteristics of native plants used to maintain and beautify storm water ponds. Integrating such expertise into the Geoscape Contracting team has given us the edge in meeting community goals, while effectively avoiding or mitigating environmental challenges.
To find out more about how Geoscape can help with your Storm Water Management Landscaping or Pond Planting project call us at (905) 887-1599 or email us.