Wetland Restoration Project
The Wetland Restoration Project is funded by the Phil Hardberger Park Conservancy thanks to donors who gave through the 2016 Big Give S.A.
Additional funding was donated by Countryside Garden Club and Bonnie Conner. Funds for the ADA trail leading to the wetland were provided by REI Co-op.
In the west side of Phil Hardberger Park is an area that was once inaccessible to the public.
Development just outside of the park creates a run-off of water from its irrigation system and parking lot. The water collects in the park creating an ephemeral pool of stagnant water and mud. Nature Preserve Officer Wendy Leonard saw not just a solution to the drainage problem, but an opportunity. She developed a plan to enhance and improve the drainage conditions at this urban park, by creating a wetland area and treating polluted surface water runoff before it enters a natural drainage.
Phase I of the Wetland Restoration Project, completed in May 2018, improved drainage in a portion of the park that had been unusable and created access to the area through a new trail and a wildlife viewing deck. The restoration creates education and volunteer opportunities and it improves habitat for local wildlife.
Here is how it was done:
A manmade drain about 130 feet in length was previously cut from the apartment complex’s boundary. The drain helps channel and maximize the amount of runoff water entering the area.
A second drain was cut along the property line to channel more water into an area where there are two depressions. These depressions are shallow but hold water.
A series of trenches have been cut to link these depressions together and to the larger trench bringing the water into the area.
Future projects for this area include making the shallow depressions deeper so they can hold more water and extending the boardwalk out over the wetland.
Species of plants and animals found in the wetland:
Marsh fleabane (Pluchea odorata)
Brookweed (Samolus parviflorus)
Frogfruit (Phyla nodiflora)
Black-bellied whistling ducks (Dendrocygna autumnalis)
Red shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus)
Eastern narrow-mouthed toad (Gastrophryne carolinensis)
Gulf coast toad (Incilius valliceps)
Southern leopard frog (Rana sphenocephala)
Texas rat snake (Elaphe obsoleta lindheimeri)
Ground skink (Scincella lateralis)