Corner rain garden in Vilas area, Grant St.
Planting trillium during the second annual Weed Feed
Returning water to the soil means more than rain gardens for your downspout. To return our creek to robust health, rain gardens have to handle runoff from all the sidewalks and streets. But Sunset Village, with few curbs, offers the ideal place to experiment.
Last year, the creek at Westmorland Park was buried. They said it was done to save Lake Wingra. Destroying nature to save nature doesn't make sense. This folly results from not taking a wider viewpoint--one that encompasses the whole watershed.
That's why I'm proposing that any solution to the Hillcrest-Upland Greenway problem should involve a watershed approach. Retention of rainwater in ponds, gardens, and barrels must be part of the plan. Less runoff means less flooding, less erosion, and less damage to any sewage/runoff system.
The little creek in Sunset Village is an opportunity, just like the right-of-way that was turned into the Southwest Bike Trail. Not so many years ago, the right-of-way was an ugly strip of gravel and abandoned track. Few could have imagined how beautiful it would be today, lined as it is with gardens and flowers. Groups of neighbors go out to establish prairie plants or pull invasive weeds. Our creek has the same potential to be a wonderful asset for the neighborhood. But it we bury it, or "gutterize" it, that opportunity will be lost.
Pulling invasive weeds along the SW bikeway
Other communities are beginning to restore neglected streams. http://www.strawberrycreek.org/ In the future, gas is going to be a lot more expensive, so we need to protect the quiet nooks closer to home.
Payoffs to a watershed approach:
- Quality of life
- Community spirit
- Property values
Children learn about invasives during a play at the annual Weed Feed