Glenwood Park – Bridgeport, CT
The riparian buffer project at Glenwood Park represents the second model project in the Pequonnock River watershed emphasizing LID practices to restore native habitat and improve water quality. In Autumn of 2013, the existing concrete flood-control apron on the Pequonnock River was altered to accommodate a new weir-and-pool fishway. As a result, native species such as alewives can now reach important freshwater spawning grounds upstream.
However, the heavy construction required to alter the concrete apron left the riverbank disturbed. Without a natural vegetative buffer, both pollutants and sediments could flow unimpeded into the river. Nearby sources of pollution include the traffic from Chopsey Hill Road as well as large flocks of geese who leave large quantities of nitrogen-rich droppings.
The new riparian buffer planting addresses both of those concerns by restoring native grasses, wildlflowers, and shrubs along the edge of the Pequonnock. The tapestry of streamside plants not only adds color and texture to this highly visible urban park, but also creates new habitat for fish and birds, stabilizes the riverbank to prevent erosion, and helps filter pollutants before they enter the river.
In May of 2014, nearly 80 volunteers pitched in to help plant the 2000 plugs and 100 shrubs that comprise the new buffer. Site Systems provided planting design, implementation oversight, material sourcing and other technical support. Save the Sound administered the grant that funded the project and also coordinated the volunteers and materials. The City of Bridgeport donated labor including site preparation, planting, watering, and installation of temporary protective fencing.
For local residents, the new buffer compliments and enhances their enjoyment of the park. As the native plants grow in, the harsh aesthetics of the concrete apron will be screened from view by an attractive example of native planting design. Visitors will have a chance to learn more about fish and plant biology - and how the riparian buffer helps protect their river - through a planned interpretative sign.