The aim of this project was to retrofit seven Homeowner Association-owned stormwater basins from traditional mown grass to provide more natural infiltration, greater uptake of stormwater using vegetation and greater community understanding of stormwater issues.
Over the course of two and a half years, the Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy (PWC) has assisted the privately owned and managed Mayfield Estates in retrofitting seven traditional stormwater basins using native plant materials and a new maintenance regime. The Mayfield Estates Homeowners Association contacted the PWC in 2007 requesting information about how they could upgrade the basins located in the development’s common open space area.
The PWC worked with the community to inform the residents about the proposed changes, explaining how the basins would not only look different but would also operate differently. Kelly Germann, Conservation Coordinator for the PWC, coordinated the effort by designing the planting plans for the basins, applying for funding, organizing volunteers, and directing the retrofits over the course of numerous planting days with the community’s volunteers.
Regrading the basins was not necessary to achieve stormwater reduction. Plants were located to take advantage of the settling that had occurred in the basins since their installation 8 years ago. Native species were selected for the retrofit, including wetland and emergent perennials and wet meadow grass mixes. Nearly 200 trees and shrubs, hundreds of perennial plants, and a new seed mix were installed. Residents provided the labor for the retrofits and are helping spread the word among their community about the benefits of the natural characteristics of the replanted basins. The community now has seven naturally functioning basins with a greater array of native plants and habitats that will enhance the privately managed open space for many years to come.
The PWC has been reaching out to private property managers to help bridge the gap between public MS4 regulations and mostly unregulated, private properties. The PWC has hosted workshops aimed at Homeowner’s Associations and the large number of privately managed basins that proliferate throughout the watershed. Additional grants and Homeowner Association partnerships have been developed to help maintain the momentum of this project.
Watershed: Perkiomen Creek
Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy
1 Skippack Pike
Schwenksville, PA 19473