Two years ago, the Fredericton Area Watersheds Association (FAWA) developed some materials and a go-forward strategy for a program called CityScapes, but did not launch it. The program was resurrected this summer, and one month ago a site was selected for the first demonstration plot.
The CityScapes program is aimed at promoting backyard stewardship on private land, in support of clean water, wildlife habitat, and biodiversity. Fredericton is a city that is 68% forested; however, much of that forest cover is at present slated for development and more will likely be developed in the future. Such development can result in a reduction in water quality and changes in hydrologic regimes in our watersheds. FAWA is currently developing the CityScapes program in partnership with the Parks and Trees Division of the City of Fredericton’s Community Services Department, the goals of which are to increase forest cover, riparian zone buffers, and biodiversity, and to protect or improve fish habitat in streams flowing through Fredericton.
A demonstration site has been chosen at the intersection of the Marysville/Nashwaak and Gibson Trails on the City's northside:
This intersection has suffered from subsidence in the past which the City has recently rectified by filling the depression with additional soil:
The purpose of the demonstration site is to highlight the importance of riparian buffers—the site is located adjacent to a natural wetland—while illustrating what property owners can do in their own backyards to help keep these areas well vegetated and healthy. By choosing to plant the site with native vegetation, the plot will also serve to raise awareness of our native plant species and to emphasize their ecological benefits.
The location of the site at the intersection of two popular walking and biking trails just off the City's pedestrian bridge means that the plot will be highly visible—ideal for our purposes. The soil fill has resulted in a potential planting area of about 8 x 12 metres. However, the steep slope into the wetland has resulted in severe erosion which we will need to address. Also, the City has already hydroseeded the soil, resulting in the growth of aggressive non-native species which will have to be suppressed before planting can begin. Finally, the site is already attracting the attention of cyclists who are choosing to cross the plot as a short-cut between the two trails—something which we will obviously wish to discourage once work begins on the plot.
Initial drafts of a site design featured a woodchipped path bisecting the site with raised wildflower plantings on either side, a 2-person bench, trashcan, and a boundary of either a fence or stones. The orange line points to north in the bottom-left corner:
Currently, the site plan is as represented below. The path (stippled) now enters from the intersection of the two trails, with the larger finger drawing the visitor deeper into the garden and with an unobstructed view of the wetland ahead. Gone are the bench and trashcan, as well as the fence. 2-3 foot berms now form the edges of the plot, with a gentler slope where it keys into the wetland. Dotted lines represent the contours and slopes of the berms, with the "V"s symbolizing the slope into the wetland. The four cross-hatched areas are boulders and the black "bar" between the two fingers of path represents an interpretative sign, either to denote the project partners or to display an illustrated planting map.
A key to the proposed native species included in the site plan is as follows:
C: Carex sp.
WG: Wild Grape
FH: Fly Honeysuckle
BV: Blue Vervain
P: Potentilla sp.
YL: Yellow Loosestrife
T: Trillium sp.
SS: Solomon's Seal