Green Infrastructure as a Solution to Hydrological Problems: Bioswales and Created Wetlands
Green infrastructure is an ecological landscaping method that was first theorized in a 1994 Floridian report titled Creating a Statewide Greenways System, which was presented to the governor at the time, Lawton Chiles (Florida Greenways Commission, MacKay, & Reed 1994). As defined by the European Commission, green infrastructure is “a strategically planned network of natural and semi-natural areas with other environmental features designed and managed to deliver a wide range of ecosystem services” (Communication from The Commission to The European Parliament, 2013, p. 3). This paper will examine two green infrastructure strategies – bioswales and created wetlands – which are crucial in solving some of the water problems that Florida faces. Bioswales are engineered green spaces that collect runoff and remove harmful pollutants from the stormwater before it is discharged into surface water sources. This paper will examine how bioswales function. Besides polluted storm water, the other major water problem is eutrophication. Created wetlands are effective ecological tools for mitigating eutrophication, which is the result of excessive nutrients in water bodies that cause algal blooms and subsequently suffocate other organisms in the water by depleting oxygen. Freedom Park in Naples, Florida is composed of four created freshwater marshes, which filter runoff and reduce heavy metals and nutrients in the stormwater before it enters the Gordon River. This paper examines Freedom Park in Naples, Florida to assess how created wetlands can assist in reducing nutrient loads, mitigating pollutants in stormwater before it enters natural waterways, and restore habitat.
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