Read about how an MDC Habitat Grant was awarded to the project for background and initial plans.
Those plans culminated on May 16, 2015 when 815 native plants were planted.
Throughout the latter half of 2015 (after the planting), Chris DeLong kept the site weeded by pulling the unfortunate infestation of barnyardgrass that threatened to overwhelm the plantings in the wetland area. Our friends at Taylor Creek Restoration Nursery say that the barnyardgrass should reduce over time. Let's hope.
Most of the plants installed in May appeared to thrive. The area southwest of the deeper pool turned out to stay much wetter than expected, so not all of the "medium moisture" plants put there did well. The more successful plants included the pickeralweed, cardinalflower, blue lobelia and mistflower. The nodding bur marigold that was already there put on a show of yellow flowers. One of the swamp milkweed plants even bloomed, which was exciting for year one.
More park visitors began making the site a stop on their ramblings through the park. Unfortunately many saw fit to walk straight up and down the hill adjacent to the spring, limiting the growth of plants in that area. (Please Leave No Trace and Stay on the Trails.)
The spring continued to be visited by a great many birds. A pair of mallard ducks called it home in the springtime and a great variety of birds were drawn in by the water, and the many insects buzzing around.
Staying semi-green through the mild 2015-2016 winter were the irises, clumps of smooth rush, many of the sedges, and the golden ragwort (which appears to have reseeded itself rather freely.)
Brett Shoffner is putting more work into the trails at the spring source, making a more sustainable rock path where the trail on the lip of the hill crosses the spring water. Again, please stay on the trails to protect our new plantings. (If it will stop raining, Brett should be back to finish it up soon.)
On April 16 a few volunteers came to help weed the area next to the old road bed. The wintercreeper from which the area is being reclaimed was pushed further back from the wetland and spring source areas. This will be an ongoing project.
156 more plants were planted into the spring area between April 23 and May 14th, including:
On April 23 a group of volunteers came from the local global anti-poverty charity Unbound, including Coleman Highlands resident and long time park helper Paul Pearce. They planted the 90 field pussytoes and the two pawpaw trees then headed over to the adjacent Grocer's Warehouse area to plant 25 fragrant sumac, and 20 virginia creeper.
The Rockhurst High School Ecology Club joined Chris DeLong and Missouri Master Naturalist Kate Roos on May 14th to plant the wild ginger, pickeralweed and swamp milkweed. Then the group headed over to the Grocer's Warehouse area to plant 200 bottlebrush wildrye native ornamental grass plugs. (Matt G. from Hufft ran a cord out to us so we could drill holes using a power drill and planting auger.) Kate did a masterful job supervising the weeding of the spring source area and planting the wild ginger. RHS ecology club leader and biology teacher Heidi Kuster was very excited to return to the spring in the future for more learning with her students. (And to play in the park since she lives nearby.)
Signage Designed and Installed
Interpretive signage was installed on site this spring as required by the MDC grant. See the gallery at left. Thanks to KCMO Parks for producing and installing it.
A bonus sign regarding the geology of the park and the spring was installed near the park bench at the top trail. Thanks to Dr. Gentile from UMKC for consulting on this sign to make it as accurate as possible.
815 native plants were planted May 16, 2015. These plants were purchased with funds from a Missouri Department of Conservation grant and generous donors.
Click for a pdf of the 2015 Spring Area Planting Plan (2.5mb)We had a very successful planting event involving neighborhood volunteers and a crew of 11 from Black & Veatch who were volunteering through Christmas in October. We managed to get the plants in the ground between the series of large rain events we’ve experienced this spring. Park naturalist Chris DeLong had siphoned out the pool for 35 hours straight leading up to the Saturday morning planting, removing close to 3,000 gallons. This allowed the volunteers to plant without the aid of rubber boots in most areas. Another heavy rain came the night after planting, totaling 2.5” at the site, raising the water level back up. The wet weather continued through the summer, allowing the plantings to establish very effectively without supplemental care.
This is a big milestone in the plan to improve the Coleman Highlands Spring. During the 2014-2015 winter, KCMO Parks dug the frog pond and placed the stone (donated by Kissick Construction) and built the berm. New grass was seeded on the berm and has established over 2015. See this Coleman Spring article for the full story of the plans for the area and Coleman Spring Restoration 2015-2016 for more recent developments.
Park users are starting to make the wetland pool part of their route walking through the park visiting either from the south, or the north via the Bindle Byway trail and new trail connection. They have reported enjoying seeing the wildlife and checking on the progress of the growing plants.
Parks Department personnel inspect the spring area in 2012.Have you seen the Coleman Highlands Spring? Before park cleanup efforts were begun in 2010 you would have had to crouch and duck under tangles of shrub honeysuckle and wild grape vines to discover the source of water coming down the hill north of Karnes, south of the Coleman Highlands neighborhood. Park cleanup efforts and the construction of the Bindle Byway Trail have made it much more accessible. Today arguably the park's most peaceful park bench sits just off the trail, within view of the spring source.
But the potential for an even higher quality park amenity was still unrealized. Despite lots of shrub honeysuckle plants having been removed, a great many remained. And by and large the ground was covered with a carpet of non-native invasive wintercreeper.
Discussions between the Parks department, Missouri Department of Conservation, and Roanoke Park volunteers began in 2012 to imagine realizing the potential of the area by replacing the non-native plants with natives and making the spring and the pool at the bottom of the hill more accessible.
Our champion persimmon tree. Biggest in the metro area.Another unique element in the area was discovered as part of the 2012 Tree Inventory. What has been verified by Powell Gardens as the largest native Persimmon tree in the metro area sits right next to the little watercourse of spring water.
Discussions continued but the plans remained rather ill defined until...
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