Sustainable Landscapes

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What is a sustainable landscape and how can it save you time and money? Check this out to find out.

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  • This is a photo of riparian restoration at Emmaus Community Park (courtesy of Rebecca Hayden)
  • Photo on right – Emmaus Park before streambank restoration (courtesy of Rebecca Hayden) Photo on left – Ole Bull State Park (courtesy of Burtt Ellsworth)
  • Photo on top right courtesy of Owen Prusack, Chester County Parks. Warm season grass meadow after prescribed burn.
  • Sustainable Landscapes

    1. 1. SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY PARKS PRPS Annual Conference 2007 Jessica Sprajcar – Office of Conservation Science Sara Nicholas – Wild Resource Conservation Program How to Enhance Natural Resources While Promoting Outdoor Recreation
    2. 2. THE DOCUMENT <ul><li>Chapter 1: A Need for Change </li></ul><ul><li>Chapter 2: Components of a Sustainable Community Park (SCP) </li></ul><ul><li>Chapter 3: Designing a SCP </li></ul><ul><li>Chapter 4: Maintaining a SCP </li></ul><ul><li>Chapter 5: Education and Awareness </li></ul><ul><li>Chapter 6: Case Studies </li></ul><ul><li>Appendices: Resources </li></ul>
    3. 3. <ul><li>Local government officials with authority to create new, and enhance existing, parks </li></ul><ul><li>State, county, and local park staff charged with design and maintenance functions </li></ul><ul><li>DCNR Bureau of Recreation and Conservation grant review staff </li></ul>THE AUDIENCE
    4. 4. IS THERE A NEED FOR CHANGE?!
    5. 5. TRADITIONAL PARKS <ul><li>Turf dominated </li></ul><ul><li>Maintenance intensive </li></ul><ul><li>Active recreation-focused </li></ul><ul><li>Little habitat value </li></ul><ul><li>Low biodiversity </li></ul><ul><li>Minimal environmental protections </li></ul>
    6. 6. A DIFFERENT WAY OF THINKING Warwick County Park – Chester County, PA
    7. 7. <ul><li>Lower crime rates </li></ul><ul><li>Stronger social ties </li></ul><ul><li>Numerous health benefits </li></ul><ul><li>Children are better behaved and more open to learning </li></ul><ul><li>Numerous environmental benefits </li></ul><ul><li>Attractive to new businesses and tourists </li></ul>POTENTIAL BENEFITS OF SCP
    8. 8. ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS <ul><li>Cleans pollution from the air, land, and water </li></ul><ul><li>Helps prevent flooding and erosion </li></ul><ul><li>Creates wildlife habitat </li></ul><ul><li>Promotes biodiversity </li></ul>
    9. 9. COMPONENTS OF SCP <ul><li>Enhance wildlife habitat </li></ul><ul><li>Conserve and protect water resources </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Minimize water use </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Enhance riparian buffers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Protect wetlands </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Design natural stormwater management </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Minimize turf and pavement </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Reduce the use of chemicals </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Use native plants and remove invasives </li></ul>
    10. 10. HOW TO ENHANCE HABITAT <ul><li>Provide the four basic wildlife needs: food, water, cover, & space </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Use native plants with edible seeds, berries, nectar </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Only remove snags when they pose a safety hazard </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Create brush piles </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Maximize connectivity between natural habitats </li></ul></ul></ul>
    11. 11. HOW TO PROTECT WATER RESOURCES <ul><li>Minimize use – low-flow toilets, automatic shut-off faucets, soaker hoses, drought-resistant native plants, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Plant riparian buffers around water bodies </li></ul><ul><li>Use native plant swales and rain gardens to treat stormwater naturally </li></ul>
    12. 12. <ul><li>Replace some turf areas with native plants </li></ul><ul><li>Replace some impermeable surfaces with porous pavement, mulch, gravel, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Reduce the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, treated lumber, etc. </li></ul>HOW TO PROTECT WATER RESOURCES, cont.
    13. 13. HOW TO PLANT NATIVES <ul><li>You must know the site conditions before picking the plants: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Soil pH </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Slope </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Soil moisture levels </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Hardiness zone </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Light levels </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Then you must know the correct time of year to plant ( depends on species ) </li></ul>
    14. 14. NATIVE PLANT RESOURCES <ul><li>PA Native Plant Society, www.pawildflower.org </li></ul><ul><li>Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping , US FWS </li></ul><ul><li>Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, www.bhwp.org </li></ul><ul><li>The Plants of Pennsylvania by Ann Rhoads </li></ul><ul><li>Ernst Conservation Seeds, www.ernstseed.com </li></ul>
    15. 15. HOW TO MANAGE INVASIVES <ul><li>Know how to identify the invasives in your area </li></ul><ul><li>Clean equipment and vehicles before leaving an infestation </li></ul><ul><li>Choose the appropriate control method(s) for the given species </li></ul><ul><li>Monitor and repeat as necessary </li></ul>
    16. 16. INVASIVE RESOURCES <ul><li>DCNR Tutorial for Land Managers, www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/invasivetutorial/index.htm </li></ul><ul><li>Governor’s Invasive Species Council, www.agriculture.state.pa.us/agriculture/cwp/view.asp?a=3&Q=139310 </li></ul><ul><li>The Nature Conservancy Invasive Info, http://tncweeds.ucdavis.edu/index.html </li></ul>
    17. 17. “MAINTAINING NATURE” <ul><li>Soil Composition </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Fertilizing </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Composting </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mulching </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Water Use </li></ul><ul><li>Grass Maintenance </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Types </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mowing and burning </li></ul></ul></ul>
    18. 18. <ul><li>Reduced mowing will take away maintenance jobs </li></ul><ul><li>Invasive species are too established to manage </li></ul><ul><li>Park visitors will think it looks unkempt and unattractive </li></ul>MAINTENANCE MYTHS
    19. 19. EDUCATION AND AWARENESS <ul><li>Sustainable Community Parks may require people to reconsider what they think a park is supposed to look like, therefore: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Create educational materials and programs to inform them of the benefits of SCP </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop volunteer programs to get the public involved </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Train staff on the design and maintenance difference </li></ul></ul>
    20. 20. OTHER RESOURCES <ul><li>Audubon at Home, www.audubon.org/bird/at_home/ </li></ul><ul><li>Backyard Conservation, www.nrcs.usda.gov/feature/backyard </li></ul><ul><li>City Parks Forum, www.planning.org/cpf </li></ul><ul><li>Community Wildlife Habitat Program, www.nwf.org/backyardwildlifehabitat/community.cfm </li></ul><ul><li>Nature Friendly Tools, www.naturefriendlytools.org </li></ul>
    21. 21. <ul><li>Local parks can promote nature and community quality of life if they: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Include the management of biodiversity when managing for recreation; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ensure that future construction, facility siting, and maintenance practices protect natural resources; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>And educate and partner with local community groups, state agencies, and the public. </li></ul></ul>SUMMARY
    22. 22. ANY QUESTIONS? <ul><li>Jessica Sprajcar, </li></ul><ul><li>Program Analyst for DCNR </li></ul><ul><li>717-214-7511 </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>

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