I was by the site with my family returning borrowed books from the adjacent library and wanting to see how the innovative Low Impact Development (LID) project was coming together.
With open heart surgery less than ten days in the past, I was sore, but also excited. The 'mini' ecosystem's elevations had been dug and to my 'biologist' eye, mimicked perfectly nature's own elevations and flow contours one would expect to see in a riverine swampy creek.
Typically, one does not encounter many straight lines in nature. Yet many roadside ditches and drains are miles and miles of linear geometry, repeated over and over again until from a visual perspective have become no longer a living, pollutant and nutrient removal system, but just part of the road itself.
Lasalle Street bioswale's design mimics what I describe as "patterned randomness", a formal planting with no perceived formality, a drought tolerant ecosystem appearing lush and tropical at times and an Urban Core landscape amenity serving to clean NOx and POx's from the air and water, pumping oxygen back into the air, sequestering carbon, providing habitat - both communal and forage for local pollinators, birds and wildlife, and finally creating a sense of place, a reconnect back to nature.
Curb cuts are placed into the sidewalls and will allow for street level runoff to filter into the ground, replenishing shallow groundwater levels and attenuating flooding volumes.
Saturday will bring crowds of local volunteers to the project for planting of the native shrubs and grasses, the dwarf yaupon holly, Ilex vomitoria, and the pink muhly grass, Muhlenbergia capillaris and finally the sand cord grass, Spartina bakeri.