One of downtown Fayetteville’s most used parking lots is being retrofitted to include a bioswale and a row of new shade trees.
The improvements, made possible using a $7,500 grant from the Arkansas Forestry Commission Urban and Community Forestry Program, will help slow and filter stormwater runoff, and provide improved growing conditions for 14 new trees that will shade the parking area and reduce the urban heat island effect.
The 220-foot-long bioswale will be built in an 8-foot-wide area between a row of parking spaces in the city-owned lot at Mountain Street and Church Avenue.
Plans include perforated piping to receive and convey water, new topsoil, river rock and a concrete flush curb to allow water to flow across the parking area into the island.
Once island construction is complete, wheel stops and parking meters will be added, along with signage explaining the importance of low impact development.
The hope is that the area can serve as an educational tool.
“This parking lot is in a highly visible location where many citizens, engineers and developers park to attend meetings, pay water bills and take care of other city-related business, exposing them to low impact development techniques,” wrote city staff in the grant application packet.
Crews began work on the project Monday morning. Portions of the parking lot will be closed during construction, which is expected to last about two weeks.
What is a bioswale?
Bioswales are storm water runoff conveyance systems that provide an alternative to storm sewers. They can absorb low flows or carry runoff from heavy rains and snowmelt to storm sewer inlets or directly to surface waters. Bioswales improve water quality by enhancing infiltration of the first flush of storm water runoff and filtering the large storm flows they convey.*
For more information on bioswales, visit the Encyclopedia of Earth.
* Source: United States Department of Agriculture