Native Plants How to effectively use vegetation as a BMP Presented by: Jenna Fahey and Mary Beth Falsey DuPage County Wetland Specialists
Why are native plants better than turf grass, weeds, or other ornamental species when used as a BMP?
Infiltration • Filtration of Pollutants • Shoreline Stabilization • Other Considerations • - Drought Resistant • - Goose Control • - Aesthetic Values • - Habitat • - Less Maintenance Time and • Money
The most important thing to understand when using native vegetation as a BMP is….. Native vegetation does not grow overnight!!
What can be completed to improve the overall appearance of a BMP Natural Area during the establishment period? • Plant plugs instead of seed • Consider including annual flowers within the seed mix • Educate the residents • Require the developer to provide truthful informational materials to buyers • Retain performance securities as maintenance guarantee
What MUST be completed during the establishment period in order to create effective native vegetation that will function as a BMP? MANAGEMENT!!!!
What to look for when review a native vegetation BMP planting plan: • Limits of planting zone • Species lists and quantities • Legend • Soil preparation for planting • Seeding/planting methodology • Erosion control blanket installation • Monitoring and Management Plan • Performance Standards • No Mow/Natural Area Signage, Education Signage, Split Rail Fence
Species lists and quantities/Planting Zone • Species must be native to northeastern Illinois • Native seed is applied at approximately 4-9 lbs per acre • Temporary Cover Crop is applied at approximately 40 lbs per acre • Planting Zones typically determined based on hydrologic and hydraulic conditions - Elevation in relation to NWL and HWL - Bounce - Velocity of Flow
Soil Specifications • At least 12 inches of topsoil • No large clumps • No compaction
Seeding/planting methodology • Methods- Seed Drill, Handbroadcast, plugs • Installation of Tree/Shrubs • Planting Location • Seed Protection Erosion Control Blanket must be biodegradable • Herbivore protection
Erosion Control Blanket • Must be 100% Biodegradable • Type is selected based on seasonal considerations, planting zone, inundation
No Mow Signage/Split Rail Fence • Helps with education and enforcement • Signs can be attractive • Distinct barrier marking limits of allowable mowing
Management and Monitoring Plan • Monitoring period- typically 3 years for native vegetation • Proposed management for each year • Performance standards • Annual monitoring report- due date • Cost estimate
Monitoring Period • Native vegetation usually takes about 3 years to establish • May take longer than 3 years if not managed properly
Seeding or Container Plants • Monitoring period may be reduced if planting container plants or plugs • Seeding- germination and maturation • Plugs- maturation
Management Activities • Mowing • Herbicide Application • Prescribed Burn
High Mowing • High mowing is conducted to prevent weeds from shading prairie seedlings. • Completed in late spring/early summer and/or during late fall when prescribed burning is not possible. • Generally cut to a height of 6-8 inches. • Mowing should not be completed during the summer months when native prairie plants are flowering.
Herbicide Application • Herbicide must be applied by a licensed applicator to non-native and invasive species. • Type of herbicide should be selected based on target species. • Application timing should be determined based on the flowering time of target species. Herbicide is usually applied prior to the species flowering. • Use only water soluble herbicide.
Prescribed Burning • Mimics natural pre-settlement conditions • Completed during the late fall or early spring • Permits required: EPA and local • Must be performed only by a professional trained in wildfire management • Mature prairies should be burned every 2-4 yrs • Typically not conducted before third growing season- accumulate fuel and ensure erosion control blanket has biodegraded
Performance Standards • Criteria to evaluate site conditions • Determine if native plant community has established properly • Full vegetative coverage • Not dominated by invasive species • Survival of planted species
Sample Performance Standards – 3 years • By the end of the third growing season, at least 50% of the vegetative coverage (as measured by aerial coverage) will consist of seeded/planted species. The planted area shall exhibit at least the following at the end of each growing season: Year 1- 10% and Year 2- 25% • By the end of the third growing season, at least 75% of the planted areas must contain native, non-invasive perennial species as measured by aerial coverage. The planted area shall exhibit at least the following at the end of each growing season: Year 1- 10% and Year 2- 25%. • None of the three most dominant species within the planted areas shall be non-native or invasive species, including but not limited to: Cattail (Typha spp.), Reed Canary Grass (Phalaris arundinacea), Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), Common Reed (Phragmites australis), Canada Thistle (Cirsium arvense), Sandbar Willow (Salix exigua), Kentucky Blue Grass (Poa pratensis), and White Sweet Clover (Melilotus alba). • No more than 0.5 square meters in size shall be devoid of vegetation at any time. • 100% of the planted trees and shrubs shall be alive, in healthy condition, and representative of the individual species at the end of each growing season.
Sample Performance Standards – 1 year • Sample Performance Standards (1-year monitoring period) • At the end of the first growing season and one full year after planting, at least 90% of the plugs will be present and thriving. • At the end of the first growing season and one full year after planting, the area shall be free of invasive or non-native species. • At the end of the first growing season and one full year after planting, no more than 0.5 square meters in size shall be devoid of vegetation. • At the end of the first growing season and one full year after planting, 100% of any planted trees and shrubs shall be alive and apparent. • Specifications for plugging • Take care not to compact the topsoil during construction. • Herbicide or remove sod and weedy or non-native vegetation • Prepare the soil • Use a biodegradable erosion control blanket, staked in with slits for plugs • Plugs must be watered immediately and then as often as necessary during the first growing season to ensure survival • Maintenance • The planting area must be kept free of weeds during the growing season • Plugs that are dead, missing, or not thriving shall be replaced immediately
Annual Monitoring Report • Due date established at time of permitting • Outlines if the site is meeting the performance standards • Should include photos • Additional management activities if site is not in compliance
Cost Estimate • Costs for native planting, maintenance, monitoring, annual report, split rail fence, and signage- prepared by environmental or wetland specialist • Amount should be posted and held for the duration of the monitoring period • Costs should reflect amounts that it would cost the municipality to fix the site • Hold 110% as a security (bond or Letter of Credit) until site meets the performance criteria • Best to hold entire amount for the duration of monitoring period
Easements • For basins, detention easement language should specify that following any disturbance, including maintenance, the basin shall be replanted with native vegetation • For other BMPs, such as swales or filter strips, a Natural Areas Easement may be more applicable
Compliance Inspections • Conducted by municipality/ county at least once a year • Assess site conditions to determine if performance criteria are achieved • Verify structures installed if applicable, split rail fence, signage • May suggest additional management activity • If site has met final years performance criteria- release security