In spring 2010, about 80,000 square feet of turf grass was converted into a low maintenance native prairie. Converting to prairie plants eliminated the costs and environmental impacts for typical lawn maintenance such as fertilization, herbicide-based weed control, and weekly mowing.
The project also benefits air quality by reducing greenhouse gas emissions (less mowing) and by switching out shallow-rooted turf grass with native plants. Through photosynthesis, native plants can remove carbon (a greenhouse gas) from the atmosphere and store it in their abundant, deep root systems.
Also, the cost savings from reduced maintenance should allow the project to pay for itself in 7 to 10 years. Other benefits of the native plants include increases storm water infiltration, creation of habitat for birds and insects such as butterflies, and addition of natural beauty and color as the different varieties of wildflowers bloom throughout the season. The project is a showcase for sustainable landscape practices.
The Civic Center Prairie changed a lot over its few years. Take a look at the progression of the Civic Center Prairie over its first several years.