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Friday, March 27, 2015

Volunteers needed for meadow project at Americana Park

This grassy field at Americana Park will be transformed into a meadow.
Annandale’s Americana Park is getting a facelift. A grassy field in the park that is subject to frequent flooding will be transformed into a meadow while invasive species will be replaced with native plants.

Friends of Accotink Creek (FACC) is spearheading a planting project at Americana Park April 17 and 18, 9 a.m.-noon, with Fairfax County stormwater and Park Authority staff, master naturalists, Northern Virginia Community College students, and other volunteers.

The asphalt trail exacerbated flooding. [FACC photo]
When the county paved a section of the Cross County Trail that runs through Americana Park a couple of years ago – to make it accessible for people with disabilities – the additional impervious surface area exacerbated the flooding problem. FACC had warned that the paving project would be an unnecessary mistake, and after its concerns were justified, approached the county about fixing the problem.

The area in question is not being used but is next to a baseball field, so anything like a bio-retention facility would probably not work – people would drive and park on it – so the best solution is to turn it into a meadow, said Danielle Wynne, an ecologist with the Stormwater Planning Division in the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services.

The non-native shrubs and scrubby, invasive vines are being removed, said Wynne, who is managing the meadow planting project. “We’re trying to make it a showcase for native plants” that like a wet environment. The plants will beautify the neighborhood, while improving drainage and reducing flooding, he said.

The meadow design.
Native trees already there – American holly, juniper, and dogwoods – will be saved, Wynne said.  Five or six new native trees will be planted, including dogwoods and fringe trees, which have beautiful white flowers.

More than 1,000 other plants, grasses, and shrubs will be planted, many of them donated by Earth Sangha. “A meadow takes years to come into its own,” Wynne said. “This project is going to be pretty significant.”

Anyone who wants to volunteer with the planting project on the weekend of April 17-18 should just show up ready to work. If it rains, the project will be done on April 19 and 20. Americana Park is between  Accotink Parkway, Little River Turnpike, and the beltway.

1 comment:

  1. Better a meadow than a sodden expanse of grass.