Reduction in irrigation of park properties

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The grass may turn brown in Echo Lake Park

Over the summer, residents and park users may notice that some of the more infrequently used areas of our parks receive less irrigation that they have in the past.

In recognition of the shifting priorities for parks maintenance, the need to conserve our precious water resources, and in an effort to save costs, the City’s 2016 budget reduces the Parks Department’s irrigation budget from $215,476 to $180,476 and transfers that $35,000 savings to the urban forest management budget.

Because of the reduction in irrigation, park users may notice browning in certain areas.

Parks has undertaken a thorough review of its irrigation locations and procedures and assessed what areas are appropriate for reduction. The goal is to minimize the impacts of reduced irrigation on the public’s enjoyment of the parks. To ensure we protect our tree assets, Parks maintenance crews will use a mobile water tank to water newer, heat/drought stressed trees.

Irrigation will be selectively reduced, consistent with the following priorities:

1.       Safety of park visitors – this is primarily related to athletic fields where irrigation keeps the surface from becoming dry and hard, making it less safe for active recreation.

2.       Preservation of landscape assets – Trees and shrubs are landscape assets that are costly to replace, and when they die, they typically do not recover. Grass can brown out but bounces back with subsequent rain with no permanent damage.

3.       Aesthetics of gathering spaces – Park facilities that are frequent community gathering spaces are important to keep looking fresh, such as Cromwell amphitheater and Saltwater Park Terrace.

4.       General park aesthetics – Overall, people enjoy green grass and adding to their enjoyment of parks and public spaces.

However, even with careful management, some negative impacts are unavoidable.

In 2013, Shoreline became a Tree City USA. As part of that designation, the City developed an Urban Forest Strategic Plan, which transferred maintenance responsibility for trees in the public right of way from the Public Works Department to the Parks Department. By increasing the urban forest management budget, the Parks Department is better able to respond to resident requests for tree maintenance.

Maintaining the investments residents have made in our parks system is a priority. We will continue to manage our resources to ensure that our park system and urban forest continue to thrive.


Heather McLaughlin June 9, 2016 at 5:40 AM  

Here's a thought - don't water when it's raining! Automatic watering systems are great until they are merrily pouring water everywhere when Mother Nature is doing the job for free. Don't they have systems that measure rainfall? I would think one would easily pay for itself over time.

Anonymous,  June 9, 2016 at 7:34 AM  

"when they die, they typically do not recover"
Ha ha: when something dies, that's what happens. (If this text is from the City, the City needs a proof reader.)

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