Sustain Jefferson Jefferson County, Wisconsin

Micro Park Update 5-15-17

The Micro Park is located on the corner of Concord and Oconomowoc Ave. in Watertown. Latest site plan update showing rain gardens, swales and prairie planting. Lately we've been busy getting ready for the installation of some of the park's main features. This includes the main prairie planting and the rain garden-swale system on the north side of the property. To make this happen requires the coordination or the city, a couple of it's departments, the DNR, the utility companies, our volunteer team and Nature. So far we've done pretty well with the task and are still on schedule and target. Thanks to everyone for making this so. Work Day On Thursday May 25 starting at 10am and continuing thru most of the afternoon, we will be holding a volunteer work day. During this time, we want to accomplish:

-seeding the prairie-raking or rolling the seed into the soil -erecting a ribbon fence -marking and making the meaner path -assessing and maintaining the rain garden and swale -discussing the location and erection of the pergola -pulling weed There will be a whole host of activists and jobs going on throughout the day. Stop by and lend a hand if you have a chance and help out on a fun project that helps the environment and neighborhood both at the same time. Details of each job are printed below. Volunteer should bring work gloves and safety glasses, suitable clothing and shoes, a lawn or garden rake, thinking caps and ...

Install silt fence... The city will be installing the silt fence along the worksite as soon as possible. This needs to be done before any work begins as a method to control runoff and protect the environment from degradation. The fence will be installed along the appropriate area from the northern rain garden area to the southern part of the prairie planting. The rain gardens, swale and prairie planting can be performed anytime after that. Rain Garden and Swales... The city will do most of the work of installing the rain gardens and swales. We've received permission from the DNR and the utilities have been marked. We've laid the swales out and marked elevations and conferred with RIck and Randy from the street department about how and what we want to do. The swales are scheduled to be built tomorrow, May 16 weather permitting. Immediately after that we will be sowing seed and establishing the meander path along the swale. We'll sow this in oats as a quick cover and nurse crop, and also plant clover and sod grass with prairie seed around the periphery. Prairie Planting... The prairie planting area has undergone nearly a year of treatment designed to eliminate the existing vegetation. That effort met with mixed results, with most of the area now free of perennial weeds except for a couple encroachments of sow thistle along the edges and quack grass in the middle.  There are a zillion little seedlings sprouting of several different species of plant. These plants are all considered weeds for the purpose of our prairie planting and will be tilled in by hand or by shallow tillage with a rotary tiller. The resulting surface should then be ready for seeding. Our plan is to sow our seed into the lightly tilled surface in three bands of plant species; tall forbs and grasses, tall and medium height forbs and short and mid forbs and grasses (Pls see attached photo) The shorter forb and grass species grouping are to be planted toward the road side, mixed height forbs in the middle band and tall grass and forb species near the river. To remove seedlings and prepare the soil for seeding, Ed Breunig has graciously offered to come over and till the site with his tractor and tiller. This will need to be done after the silt fence and asap, but according to the weather; we'll need a couple of days of dry weather for the soil to not be damaged by the tiller. 
Interestingly, prairie seed is a lot like corn seed; it needs warm soils to germinate. We used to wait till then end of June to prairie plant seed for the soils to warm, and allow a little more time to control existing vegetation. This last tillage of the site should kill of the gazillion little weeds growing there now, and produce a suitable condition for the prairie plant seeds. As an alternative to tillage we could try flame weeding. That works well on existing small, young seedlings. To actually sow the seed, we are planning on mixing the seed in damp sand to bulk the seed mass up. Some of the prairie species seed are very tiny, perhaps ten to the head of a pin, and filler material must be added to allow for even and adequate seed dispersal. By mixing each seed group with a couple of buckets sand, then broadcasting that seed in the designated area, we can ensure even seed dispersal into each plant zone. The seed would then be lightly raked into the surface or rolled with a culti-packer. The Ribbon Fence... The ribbon fence will need to be installed around the perimeter of the planting(s). 4 foot wooden stakes with a yellow caution ribbon attached should be adequate for the task, with maybe some steel fence posts in the corners. Assessing the swales and maintaining the rain gardens... We will need to assess the swales and perform any tasks necessary to ensure success there. This may be watering, raking or weeding parts that part of the park. A meaner path can be marked out. This would just a mown grass path thru the park, or could be upgraded to gravel or wood-chips as desired. I had thought to use the upper crest of the swale for part of the meander path if possible and perhaps cover the crest in gravel. Trails and signs... As the trail and features of the park go in, interpretive sign should be installed around the park to inform park-goers about the features of the park. Initial topics cold include things like; the prairie planting, the swales and rain gardens, a how to help or become a friend to the park, or about any feature of the park. The structure of the interpretive sign could be a pole (4 x 4 or big steel pipe) with a 12 x 16 inch piece of 3/4 inch plywood attached to it and a plexiglass frame and cover. The display case would house a 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper containing the information about the park feature. Fishing Pier... We applied for a grant to begin funding for the fishing pier and have not heard back about it yet. The grant request was made to the Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation for $4,000 to act as seed money for the pier project. That's all for now. If you'd like to learn more about our Micro Park project, you can follow us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Dotsmicropark/ Or contact us at: 920-261-9110