14 August 2014

Flora Transforms CSO Space at Elmwood Park

Blooming flora is transforming the stormwater gardens at the east side of Elmwood Park, along 60th Street. Vibrant yellow colors now predominate what had formerly been nothing but an expanse of barren green grass. It is now certainly a place to enjoy the seasonal colors of a nice variety of plants.

During a visit to the site with Dr. David Sutherland, professor emeritus from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, he indicated the identity of many species of plants now in bloom, and which add a completely unique feature to the park.

The pinkish Joe-Pye Weed is "just beautiful" and "spectacular" Dr. Sutherland commented. Numerous bees and a very nice Monarch Butterly were appreciating the flowers.

He also noted there was "quite a bit of native species" present. The locale "looks quite good from a distance."

There is blooming Boneset, gayfeather, some Yellow Cone Flower, a limited extent of switchgrass and some Canada Wild Rye. The Swamp Milkweed was doing well, Dr. Sutherland noted. Planted trees including catalpa and hackberry were doing well.

"I love the idea of having Kentucky Coffeetree," Dr. Sutherland said.

There may be other species maturing as the season progresses.

One nice improvement would be the addition of more native grass species along the "upland edge" of the area. This is currently not mown on a regular basis, has some weedy growth and lingering brome. Adding species such as Big Bluestem, more Switchgrass and Indian Grass would only improve the botanical diversity and make the place even more attractive.

These are a few pictures taken at the the scene on August 13th.

A clump of Black-eyed Susan plants.

David Sutherland enjoying the flora at the Elmwood Park CSO! stormwater gardens.

Closeup of Joe-Pye Weed.

A patch of Joe-Pye Weed.

A colorful patch of partridge pea.

Autumn Phlox and its bit of floral color.

This is the storm water drain, near the north end of the project site. Just to the north of here, there is a small temporary pond with standing water.

Robins busy enjoying the water of the pond, with a goldfinch also visiting on the left side.

This is a view looking southward at the stormwater garden area.

As a reminder, this is what the swale looked like in October 2011.

The original plans for this project indicated a greater variety of plant species, but they were not seen.

A request had been made to Omaha Public Works to have someone present during this visit to help explain current conditions, but the city referred to a consultant who agreed to meet. That however, did not work out.