Nov 1st, 2019

Garden Receives Major Environmental Grant

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is honored to receive a Virginia Environmental Endowment (VEE) grant in the amount of $315,000 to support the Glen Stream Restoration Project. The grant is part of VEE’s James River Water Quality Improvement Program and promotes environmental education.

Aerial of Glen Stream Restoration -- which will be a future site of environmental education. by Harlow Chandler

The Glen Stream Restoration Project addresses the area between Parking Lots B and C at Lewis Ginter. Image by Harlow Chandler.

If you’ve visited Lewis Ginter, you’ve probably driven by the project area without even realizing it. As you come through the front gate and make your way up to the Visitors Center, there’s a stream that cuts between Parking Lots B and C to your left. Bordered by trees and shrubs, it has a naturalistic feel and is usually a trickle of water. During heavy rain events, however, the gully becomes a churning stream and catches run-off from nearby neighborhoods, streets and parking lots.

The Garden’s plan with the Glen Stream Restoration Project is to use a relatively new concept called Regenerative Stormwater Conveyance. This means engineering the landscape to slow the water, reducing pollution to the James River.

View of the Glen Stream Gully

The gully is usually a trickle, but with rain it swells with run-off from the neighborhood

The project involves altering the geography of the stream to create a more meandering path, slowing down the water and allowing particulates to settle. This mitigates stormwater run-off and allows water to be filtered by the soil and the plants. In addition, native plants will flourish and provide habitat for diverse wildlife.

Close up view of the gully showing erosion and tree roots. This Glen Stream project will be used for environmental education.

The project will slow the water, allowing it to sink in and be filtered by soil and plants.

Environmental Education

“We’re grateful for the Virginia Environmental Endowment’s work advancing water quality and we’re honored to be a grant recipient,” said Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s Executive Director Shane Tippett. “As the project unfolds, the Garden will be able to study and share issues related to water quality, wetland habitat and native plant communities with our guests, teachers, students and the community.” In 2018, the Garden welcomed more than 390,000 visitors, and 14,088 students participated in environmental educational programs.

Joseph Maroon, Virginia Environmental Endowment’s Executive Director noted, “This stream restoration project brings to Richmond the realities of how integral urban water quality efforts are to the improvement of the James River.  VEE is grateful to have a partner like Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in the work to restore the James.”

Keep an eye out for the work to begin in January of 2020. We’ll keep you up-to-date on the progress!

Native plants near the Glen Stream

The Glen Stream Project will encourage growth of native plants, creating a diverse habitat for wildlife.

About Beth Monroe

Beth Monroe is public relations and marketing director at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. She feels honored to be part of a team connecting people and plants to improve our community.

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