Planting the raingarden at Muskrat Cove was the final step in this project to improve a degraded area along the Bronx River Parkway near the border with Westchester County. On a sunny September morning, the Alliance’s conservation crew joined with Biohabitats, the project’s designer, to install 80 native trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants in the forest. This planting was part of a larger project to stabilize a stormwater pipe and improve the conditions in the area surrounding it.
To fix the pipe, the existing dilapidated headwall was removed, the pipe cover was stabilized, and the area was regraded slightly, directing stormwater into small rain gardens. A small settling area was created at the end of pipe with broken up material from the stone headwall, and streambank protection was added to prevent future scouring and water quality degradation in the Bronx River.
A variety of native species are helping to transform this area, once unsightly with erosion and invasive Japanese knotweed, into a healthy oasis of native greenery. A barren slope between the parkway and the river was planted with native trees and shrubs, to help slow and retain some of the polluted runoff from the roadway before it enters the river. A dilapidated pipe was repaired to reduce the deposition of contaminated sediment into the river. The slope was reconfigured to direct water into a raingarden rather than onto the pathway, providing water for blueberry bushes and native ferns.
Expanding on this work, invasive vegetation was removed around the park and replaced with native plants to stabilize the streambanks and improve wildlife habitat. Alliance staff and volunteers have cleared approximately 2.8 acres of invasive vegetation in the park, and planted 700 trees and 400 shrubs. We have had some great help, including the assistance of a dedicated crew of nine young adults who served as apprentices with the Alliance’s Conservation Crew for 5 weeks in 2012. Funding for this on-the-job training in green careers was provided by the Mayor’s Center for Economic Opportunity Office, supplementing the project support generously provided by the Arlene and Arnold Goldstein Foundation and the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation.