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Sustainable Human and Ecological Development (SHED)

Environmental Benefits of Ornamental Plantings along Stormwater Pond Edges

This project is an interdisciplinary effort funded by the Florida Nursery Growers and Landscaping Association.  Stormwater (SWP) ponds are designed for flood control and to limit pollution runoff from urbanizing landscapes into downstream water bodies.  They can also contribute to the aesthetics of residential landscapes.  Planting the edges of SWPs may enhance SWP functionality by increasing bank stabilization and nutrient uptake, which in turn may limit the occurrence of unsightly algal blooms.  However, homeowners are concerned that planting SWP edges will block their water view.  There is also conflict among landscaping and pond management companies as to who is responsible for maintaining SWP plantings.

This project compares nutrient levels, algal cover, and degree of bank stabilization in planted and non-planted ponds to quantify the potential benefits of plants.  We are also hosting workshops with landscape and pond management companies to devise effective strategies for long-term management of SWP plantings.  Finally, planted ponds will be placed in public areas as a strategy to educate the public about how SWP plantings can add, rather than detract from, aesthetics in residential landscapes.