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BEECHER ROAD SCHOOL

BIOFILTRATION SWALE MAINTENANCE MANUAL

Prepared by: Fuss & ONeill, Inc. BEECHER ROAD SCHOOL - BIOFILTRATION SWALE MAINTENANCE MANUAL September 2012

Table of Contents

What are Biofiltration Swales


Why Biofiltration Matters

Maintenance Program Overview


Goals & Objectives

Maintenance Schedule
Filter Medial Tasks Vegetation Tasks Drainage Structure Tasks

9 10 11

Maintenance Responsibilities Safety Guidelines Tools and Equipment Integrated Pest Management
General IPM Steps & Methods
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References Appendices

Appendix A Appendix B

Invasive Plants in Your Backyard! A Guide to Their Identification & Control Guidelines for Disposal of Terrestrial Invasive Plants

Appendix C
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Integrated Pest Management Fact Sheet

BEECHER ROAD SCHOOL - BIOFILTRATION SWALE MAINTENANCE MANUAL

What are Biofiltration Swales?


Biofiltration Swales are landscaped spaces that transform land surfaces into living storm water management facilities. They are a type of Low Impact Design strategy aimed to control water (rainfall and runoff) at the source. Rather than allowing rainwater to run over the land and collect pollutants that enter storm drains and eventually local streams and wetlands, these methods reduce erosion and flooding, clean runoff and allow the water to replenish groundwater. Biofiltration swales capture stormwater runoff and let water soak into the ground as plants and soil filter pollutants. Biofiltration swales convert storm water from a waste directed into a pipe, to a resource that replenishes groundwater supplies and protects watershed health. They also provide natural habitat and enhance the aesthetic of a site.

Benefits of Biofiltraton at Beecher Road School


Educational Opportunities Enhance and Restore Native Habitat Reduce and Prevent Erosion Recharge Groundwater Supplies Fiscally & SustainablyResponsible Decision Making Improve Water Quality of Local Streams/Wetlands Reduce Maintenance Requirements More Attractive Campus Improve Functionality of Campus Grounds Increase Longevity of Campus Infrastructure Allow Creativity and Input from Staff

Image Credit: Green Cascades, LLC

Why Biofiltration Matters


A watershed is an area of land that drains into a specific body of water. Our activities within a watershed have a direct impact on rivers and streams. In creating our communities weve covered oncevegetated surfaces with streets, roofs, driveways and parking lots. In the process, weve changed the relationship between watersheds, rivers and streams, often polluting them, increasing erosion and decreasing groundwater recharge. Biofiltration swales recognize the relationship between the natural and built environments and are an innovative and effective way to restore and protect watershed health. Beecher Campus Drainage Areas
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BEECHER ROAD SCHOOL - BIOFILTRATION SWALE MAINTENANCE MANUAL

Maintenance Program Overview


Beecher Road School is committed to green development practices and sustainable stormwater management. Beecher welcomes your help in maintaining its biofiltration swales and campus grounds. Becoming a biofiltration swale steward is a rewarding way to care for your school and community and keep Woodbridges water resources clean. This is your how-to guide that describes the simple activities you can do to care for and maintain the biofiltration swales and campus grounds at Beecher Road School. Seeing these techniques in action provides excellent educational opportunities for children and allows educators to effectively train our future stewards of the land! This program recommends partnering with school staff or consultants familiar with the maintenance plan requirements for support, monitoring and feedback. Continuing education of maintenance staff, adherence to a maintenance schedule and identification of individuals responsible for inspections and support are recommended for the programs success.

Goals & Objectives


Flow Control & Drainage
Maintain intended infiltration capacity and safely convey stormwater

Water Quality Treatment


Preserve soil & plant health to promote cleansing of stormwater that enters system

Cost Effectiveness
Maintain facilities for long-term, high quality performance at a cost equal to, or less than, conventional systems Prevent expensive repair or large scale problems through continued routine procedures

Aesthetics
Develop swales to become both a landscape amenity as well as a stormwater facility

Public Health
Minimize potential for mosquito breeding by maintaining designed infiltration capacity and ponding depths

Education
Provide educational materials to faculty, staff and students explaining the benefits, function and importance of maintenance for the long-term performance of the facilities

Safety & Emergency Vehicle Access


Maintain adequate site distances for emergency vehicle access

BEECHER ROAD SCHOOL - BIOFILTRATION SWALE MAINTENANCE MANUAL

Maintenance Schedule
Biofiltration swales, rain gardens and other components of low-impact vegetated stormwater management systems require programmed monitoring and maintenance to ensure performance and benefits continue over the full life cycle of the installation. An annual and storm-event driven maintenance program is recommended. Biofiltration swale care is divided into two phases; a two-year establishment phase and a long-term stewardship phase. Young plants have tender roots and can be susceptible to damage without regular care. Because of this, new biofiltration swales will require more intense maintenance until plants develop well-established root systems, but less maintenance in the long term. Following is a Maintenance Schedule describing suggested maintenance activities and their frequency. The tasks have been divided into three categories including those which pertain to: 1) Filter Media, 2) Vegetation and 3) Drainage Infrastructure.

Maintenance Tasks
1 2 3
Filter Media Vegetation
tasks pertaining to surface materials including mulch and growing medium tasks pertaining to plant establishment & health

Drainage Infrastructure

tasks pertaining to hardscape and drainage pipes and outfalls

Vegetation

Curb Cut / Inlet Impervious Surface River Jack Energy Dissipater Outfall Drain Growing Medium Gravel Trench Existing Soil

Biofiltration Swale Section


Image Credit: City of Portland, Oregon & Fuss & ONeill, Inc.

BEECHER ROAD SCHOOL - BIOFILTRATION SWALE MAINTENANCE MANUAL

Filter Media Tasks


ACTIVITY Mulching
Replace or add mulch with hand tools to a depth of 2-3 inches

OBJECTIVE
Replenish organic material in soil, reduce erosion, prolong good soil moisture levels and filter pollutants. Prevent clogging of infrastructure and maintain aesthetics.

FREQUENCY
Every two years or as needed to cover void areas

NOTES
Use compost in the bottom of the facility and wood chips on side slopes and elevations above outfall drain. Use caution when collecting litter near roadways and parking lots. Wear bright colors and only work during daylight under adult supervision. Erosion should not be an issue except in extreme rainfall events. If erosion problems persist, consider re-grading or re-contouring side slopes or applying energy dissipaters at problem locations. If sediment is deposited in the bioretention area, immediately determine the source within the contributing area and stabilize. Replant exposed areas. Signs of poorly aerated soils include water that remains ponded in the swale for more than a few hours after a rain event.

Litter Removal

Check for and remove litter both in and around swale areas

As needed based on inspection

Erosion Control

Inspect soil and repair eroded areas

Reduce sediment transport and clogging of infrastructure. Maintain desired plant survival and appearance of facilities. Reduce sediment transport and clogging of infrastructure. Maintain desired plant survival and appearance of facilities. Maintain proper elevations and ponding depths. Restore soil structure, maintain percolation rates and promote plant growth.

Monthly for first year; afterwards inspect after all large storm events

Sediment/Debris Removal

Shovel or rake out sediment build-up within vegetated areas

Annually in spring; as needed based on inspection

Soil Aeration

Annually

Scarify the the soil surface between plants

What are sediment and debris?


Sediment picked up by stormwater settles out as a fine, sand-like substance. Debris includes grass clippings, leaves, sticks and small branches. Both sediment and debris can clog openings and reduce biofiltration swale function. Biofiltration swales should be inspected for sediment/debris accumulation especially after heavy rains.

Image Credits: Green Street Care and Maintenance Guide - City of Portland, Oregon

BEECHER ROAD SCHOOL - BIOFILTRATION SWALE MAINTENANCE MANUAL

Vegetation Tasks
ACTIVITY Watering
Hand water plants

OBJECTIVE
Establish vegetation to desired survival rates and improve plant health.

FREQUENCY
As necessary throughout 2-year plant establishment phase; afterwards water only during periods of extreme drought Monthly during growing season throughout 2-year plant establishment phase; afterwards annually As needed based on inspection

NOTES
Plants have been selected for drought tolerance. They should not require watering beyond the 2-year establishment phase except in periods of extreme drought or as indicated by plant health. Periodic weeding is necessary throughout the plant establishment phase to ensure the desired vegetation takes over. The frequency will decrease as desired plant densities are achieved. Approach treatment according to Integrated Pest Management practices (see page 12 for more information). If specific plants have a high mortality rate, assess the cause and consider replacing with another appropriate species. The time of year to cut back perennials/grasses depends on aesthetic preference regarding winter look.

Weeding

Remove undesirable and invasive vegetation by hand

Reduce competition for desired vegetation and prevent establishment or spread of invasives. Improve aesthetics.

Plant Health Assessment

Assess plants for disease, pest infection or stunted growth and treat or remove

Maintain plant health and dense vegetation cover to prevent erosion, encourage infiltration and exclude unwanted weed species.

Prune Vegetation

Prune trees and shrubs and cut back perennials and ornamental grasses

Maintain adequate plant coverage and health. Maintain sight lines and clearance from utilities. Support succulent new growth.

Once annually in late fall or early spring after leaves fall and before new growth begins. As needed based on inspection

Infill Planting

Replace any dead or dying plants in kind

Maintain intended plant densities for appropriate pollutant mitigation and infiltration.

Consult with landscape professional to match infill species / cultivar in kind.

A word on watering...
Although biofiltration swale plants can tolerate our dry summer climate, they can benefit from additional watering during extended periods of summer drought or extreme heat. Beecher Road School welcomes your help with watering during these times. Please use a gentle, low pressure shower setting to avoid erosion, and dont water at a faster rate than the ground can soak it up.
Image Credit: Green Street Care and Maintenance Guide - City of Portland, Oregon

BEECHER ROAD SCHOOL - BIOFILTRATION SWALE MAINTENANCE MANUAL

A word on weeding...
You can remove weeds by hand or with a small hand held trowel, weed fork, or garden hoe. In order to eliminate weeds, it is important to try and remove their root systems. After removing a weed, gently pat down the soil to prevent air pockets that expose the roots of established plants. If you are unsure whether a plant is a weed or invasive species, do not remove it. Consult with a landscape expert or see the Appendices Section entitled Invasive Plants in Your Backyard: A Guide to Their Identification & Control. Please do not use chemical herbicides. Beecher Road School promotes Integrated Pest Management (IPM) which is explained in greater detail on page 12 and Appendix C.

Drainage Infrastructure Tasks


ACTIVITY Energy Dissipater Repair OBJECTIVE
Maintain proper drainage and aesthetics and prevent erosion.

FREQUENCY
As needed based on inspection

NOTES
River jacks come in a variety of sizes. When replacing, match the size to those within the biofiltration swale. If sediment is deposited in the bioretention area, immediately determine the source within the contributing area and stabilize. Inspect for dislodged or damaged grates and structural integrity. Clear curb openings so water can flow into the facility. Rake and remove leaves, trash and debris.

Restore or replace river jacks as necessary

Clean & Inspect Outfall Drains

Clean sediment and debris from drainage structures and inspect for structural integrity.

Reduce sediment transport and clogging of infrastructure. Prevent flooding.

Annually in late fall; as needed based on inspection

Clean Curb Cuts/ Inlets

Remove any accumulation of debris along curbs and inlets to swale

Maintain proper flow of stormwater from paved/impervious areas into biofiltration swale

Twice Annually

Biofiltration Swale Anatomy


Cut / Inlet 1 Curb where stormwater enters / Filter Media 2 Vegetation planted area where stormwater collects &
soaks into the ground below

2 3 1
Image Credit: Green Street Care and Maintenance Guide - City of Portland, Oregon

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Outfall Drain

collects excess stormwater to prevent flooding

BEECHER ROAD SCHOOL - BIOFILTRATION SWALE MAINTENANCE MANUAL

Maintenance Responsibilities
Some of the maintenance activities explained in the schedule should be conducted by professional maintenance personnel or Town-contracted professionals. Other activities can easily be done by supervised student stewards. Below is a chart identifying the maintenance activities and potential responsibilities. These are only suggestions and it is up to the school and faculty to determine those activities which students can be responsible for. For all care activities conducted by Student Stewards, the importance of supervision, training and safety should be stressed.

ACTIVITY
Care & Maintenance Activity

RESPONSIBILITY
Professional Maintenance Personnel Student Swale Stewards
Inspect & Maintain Inspect ONLY

Filter Media Mulching Litter Removal Erosion Control Sediment/Debris Removal Soil Aeration Vegetation Watering Weeding Plant Health Assessment Prune Vegetation Infill Planting Drainage Infrastructure Energy Dissipater Repair Clean & Inspect Outfall Drains Clean Curb Cuts/Inlets
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BEECHER ROAD SCHOOL - BIOFILTRATION SWALE MAINTENANCE MANUAL

Safety Guidelines
Follow these important safety guidelines before maintaining your biofiltration swale: Make yourself visible. Wear bright colored clothing or a safety vest when maintaining swales next to parking lots or roadways. Apply extra caution and be aware of passing vehicles when maintaining swales next to parking lots or roadways. Wear sturdy shoes and thick gloves to help protect you from broken glass, sharp objects, pollutants or other hazards. Maintain biofiltration swales only during daylight hours and avoid peak traffic times. All children under the age of 18 should be accompanied by an adult faculty member or volunteer. Do not leave your tools unattended. Keep them out of the street and off of the sidewalk so as not to pose a safety hazard. Store tools in a safe location.

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BEECHER ROAD SCHOOL - BIOFILTRATION SWALE MAINTENANCE MANUAL

Tools & Equipment


Below are a variety of tools to make the work easier:

Garden Gloves

Broom & Dustpan

Hand Trowel

Garden Rake

Weed Fork

Yard Debris Bag

Garden Hose

Trash Grabber Bright Clothing

BEECHER ROAD SCHOOL - BIOFILTRATION SWALE MAINTENANCE MANUAL

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Integrated Pest Management


Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, is an approach to pest control [weeds, insects, and diseases] that uses regular monitoring to determine if and when treatments are needed, and employs physical, mechanical, cultural and biological tactics to keep pest number low enough to prevent intolerable damage or annoyance. Least-toxic chemical controls are used as a last resort.
-Daar, Olkowski & Olkowski (1992) IPM Training Manual for Landscape Gardeners

General IPM Steps and Methods


1 2
Set Action Threshold Decide to tolerate some damage but determine the point where pest control actions should be taken. Prevention Plant vigorous, pest-resistant and site-adapted varieties. Perform routine maintenance activities (watering, mulching, pruning, etc.) to discourage pests. Monitor Regularly Assess plant health regularly. Identify Pests Accurately identify and understand any observed pests and their life cycles. Control When pests exceed threshold, use the control method with the least nontarget impact (i.e. physical, cultural or biological control first). Treat with chemical methods as a last resort. Keep Records Maintain records of control methods used and their results in order to evaluate and adapt practices. Replace Problem Plants If certain plant species are observed to be continuously susceptible to pests and disease, consider replacing with more pest-, disease-, or weed-resistant varieties.

3 4 5

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BEECHER ROAD SCHOOL - BIOFILTRATION SWALE MAINTENANCE MANUAL

References
Environmental Services, City of Portland Oregon (2010) Green Street Care and Maintenance Guide. < http://www.portlandonline.com/bes/index.cfm?a=319879&c=52501> Environmental Services, City of Portland Oregon (2012) Stormwater Solutions Handbook. < http://www.portlandonline.com/bes/index.cfm?c=43110> Facility for Advancing Water Biofiltration (2008) Raingardens and Bioretention Tree Pits Maintenance Plan. < http://www.monash.edu.au/fawb/publications/raingardenmaintenance-plan.pdf> Puget Sound Action Team (2007) Maintenance of Low Impact Development Facilities. <http://www.psparchives.com/publications/our_work/stormwater/lid/D_RevisedMaintenanceofLIDFacilities.pdf> Seattle Green Factor (2002) Preparing Landscape Management Plans for Seattle Green Factor Compliance. < http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/static/SGF%20landscape%20maintenance%20plan_LatestReleased_DPDP_021715.pdf> Stenlund, Dwayne (2002) Maintenance Plan for the Micro-Storm Water Depression Rainwater System: Cottage Grove Park & Ride. <www.cleanwatermn.org>

Appendices
Appendix A
Invasive Plants in Your Backyard: A Guide to Their Identification and Control Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District (2009)

Appendix B

Guidelines for Disposal of Terrestrial Invasive Plants Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, University of Connecticut, Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group

Appendix C

Integrated Pest Management Fact Sheet United States Environmental Protection Agency (2008)

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