This-N-That

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Letters To The Editor

Solve A Problem With Volunteers

We have had a vibrant volunteer program since 1995; in 2009, we found ourselves at capacity. At the same time, maintenance crews were fighting a losing battle with invasive species in our 1,300+ acres of forested parks, wetlands and other natural areas. How could we mobilize this enthusiastic but untrained workforce to help us systematically restore and manage these resources? 

Kent has joined the Green Cities Network, becoming one of six Puget Sound cities to create a 20-year plan that challenges residents to be part of the solution. More than 20 trained volunteer Green Kent stewards have been holding work parties over the past 3 years, largely in parks but also in sites overseen by Public Works wetland crews. They clear areas choked with Himalayan blackberry, English ivy and other invasives, then replant with appropriate native species, adding cardboard and chips as weed barriers. The final phase monitors those areas to prevent invasive regrowth. To date, we have 35 active sites covering about 50 acres; additionally, 39,290 trees and shrubs have been planted, and 3,950 volunteers have contributed 9,408 hours to the Green Kent Partnership. 

For more information, visit www.greenkent.org or contact me. 

Victoria L. Andrews

Special Programs Manager

Parks, Recreation & Community Services

Kent, Wash.

vandrews@kentwa.gov

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Hayward Introduces Mobile App For AquaConnect

Hayward Pool Products has launched a new iPhone and iPad app for its AquaConnect Remote Pool Management Platform. Apple device users can manage pH and sanitization; turn lights on and off; activate water features; enable, disable or set the temperature for any heater; all while conserving energy. The Android app will be available in early 2014. Access the iPhone and iPad app in the Apple Store. The Android App will be available in the Android Market.

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From Flood Prone To Storm Resilient

New York, N.Y.—An attempt to mitigate a flood-prone intersection at Carroll Street and Denton Place resulted in a 3,140-square-foot garden retrofitted with permeable pavers, flood-tolerant plants and a rain garden. The renovation of the Gil Hodges Community Garden in Brooklyn’s Gowanus neighborhood received support from Jo Malone London and a New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Green Infrastructure Grant. Known as a New York Restoration Project (NYRP), project contributors also installed a DEP-designed bioswale in the sidewalk adjacent to the garden that manages stormwater runoff from Denton Place and the sidewalk. In total, these components will manage 150,000 gallons of stormwater annually, thereby easing pressure on the city’s sewer system and reducing overflows into the Gowanus Canal.

The design in and around the garden incorporates new elements that naturally absorb and filter rain water. The bioswale, which is a street tree in an enlarged bed with native plants and a low curb, diverts and reuses about 65,000 gallons of storm water annually. Monitoring equipment has also been installed in the bioswale that will record data for three years and be analyzed by the City College of New York. This data will supply helpful information about how the bioswale performs over time. A rain garden and permeable pavers will manage the nearly 85,000 gallons of stormwater that falls on the garden each year, making it a model for outdoor urban architecture and landscape design.

In addition to being a model for outdoor urban architecture and landscape design, community members enjoy the garden’s new fragrance walk featuring sweetbay magnolia, ruby spice summersweet, orange azalea and mountainmint. A birch reading grove and patio provide quiet getaways for passive recreation. The garden also has an outdoor classroom area complete with blackboard, and a composting station and raised vegetable beds.

Together, these garden features make it a beautiful retreat for all ages and seasons. 

The garden was designed by Yvi McEvilly, NYRP’s Director of Design and Stantec Consulting Inc., with help from EDesign Dynamics and Patrick Cullina, former High Line VP of Horticulture and Park Operations, and consulting from George Smith of The City College of New York.

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