Researchers from Kansas State University, in partnership with the Johnson County Stormwater Management Program, are studying the effects of storm water runoff at the Johnson County Transit Center. Infiltration occurs when rain falls and a portion of the water is absorbed into the ground. Rainwater which is not absorbed is referred to as “runoff.” Runoff travels over the ground and enters the storm sewer system carrying pollutants picked up from the land surface directly to our streams untreated. Ideally, most rainfall would be infiltrated into the ground. Storm water infiltration can lead to cleaner streams and rivers, because stormwater is filtered and the majority of pollutants are removed as it percolates through the soil. Infiltration is severely limited in urban and suburban environments due to the large amount of impervious surface such as pavement and rooftops. Problems caused by runoff include flooding, pollution of streams and lakes as well as stream bank and soil erosion. Two common pollutants carried by runoff are sediment and nutrients, which are primary non-point source pollutants of our streams and lakes.
The goals of the project are:
Here's a before shot of our front lawn.
One month after seeding.
The same rocks and plantings after two months.
Fall of year one mowing, to reduce weeds before the winter.
July 2008, one year later. You see a lot of weeds, but a lot of strong undergrowth taking root.
The decision was made to mow to control the weed growth.
One month later, August 2008, all the growth is back.
Sept 2009, after year 2. Lots of weeds. This is to be expected. It takes 5 years for native prairie to take a firm hold. The prairie grass is doing well. Weeds always jump out first in any new project. 2010 should be a productive year with a burn-off proposed.
In April 2010, the prairie grass was burned off to clear the old grass and enhance prairie growth. New shoots sprung up almost immediately.
These were the only large flames, which were contained to the pond area and foxtails. There were several personel on hand to prevent the spread of fire.
June 2010. One of our favorite residents. This is at least the third year a pair of killdeer have nested on our grounds. One bird will incubate the eggs, the mate will often-times be in the parking lot, running around with a "broken wing". It's all a ploy to distract a predator from a vulnerable ground nest site. See the eggs on the right?
Two eggs. The third has hatched. Hatchlings must be born ready to move.
Fall 2011: Prairie was mowed and will be re-seeded with selected vegetation to give the grassland a more natural look in the spring. The hope is to further reduce weeds now that the grass has had enough time to properly set deep roots.