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Arboretum Planting Day Set for June 27

WILMINGTON — Volunteers are needed 9-11 a.m. Thursday at the New Hanover County Arboretum to help plant native plants, the final phase of a stormwater project created to improve the water quality of nearby Bradley Creek.

The North Carolina Cooperative Extension’s New Hanover County Center, which oversees the 7-acre Arboretum at 6206 Oleander Drive, and North Carolina Coastal Federation partnered on the design to redirect stormwater runoff from the Arboretum’s roof-tops, paved areas and parking lots.

Volunteers are needed 9-11 a.m. Thursday at the New Hanover Arboretum, shown here, to help plant native plants. Photo: Contributed

The stormwater, which was flowing through storm pipes into the headwaters of Bradley Creek, now flows through an engineered infiltration system beneath the sandy soil of an existing low area, where it slowly percolates into the ground, allowing pollutants to be removed and improving the health of Bradley Creek, according to the federation.

Following the final planting event June 27, the project will be used to illustrate a low impact development technique with the addition of educational signage along a self-guided walkway.

“The Arboretum site is an excellent example of a retrofit project that helps to improve the water quality of nearby Bradley Creek and also showcases a native landscaping design that is both functional and beautiful,” Tracy Skrabal, coastal scientist for the federation, said in a statement.

The June 27 planting event will make a New American Garden, created by Wolfgang Oehme and James Van Sweden, to showcase the seasonal variation found in native meadows, while demonstrating its ecological and sustainable values.

“The newest additions to the Arboretum will be planted in the New American Garden style with layered masses of foliage full of color and texture. Native and low maintenance plants will be chosen that require little use of water, fertilizer or pesticides,” Lloyd Singleton, Director of Cooperative Extension at the New Hanover County Arboretum said in a statement. “The N.C. Cooperative Extension is excited to collaborate with the federation to improve our stormwater management. We are committed to reducing our stormwater runoff and improving water quality with the new stormwater infiltration zone. We hope that this can serve as a model for other commercial properties as well as provide inspiration for homeowners.”

This project is one of a number of from the Bradley and Hewletts Creek Watershed Plan. Funding for this project was provided to the federation by the North Carolina Division of Water Resources’ Environmental Protection Agency Section 319 Water Quality Program.

For more information on this project and event or to join the media tour to be held from 9 to 11 a.m., contact Ted Wilgis at tedw@nccoast.org or 910-509-2838.

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Staff Report

The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.