Virginia CZM Program: 2016 Coastal Grant Project Description and Final Summary

Project Task:VA CZM logo

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Grantee:

George Washington Regional Commission

Project Title:

Cedell Brooks Jr. Park Demo Garden

Project Description:

This grant to the George Washington Regional Commission (GWRC) will fund the installation of a native plant demonstration garden at Cedell Brooks Jr. Park owned by King George County. With previous NOAA funding from Virginia CZM (FY 15 Task 47), GWRC brought together partners to collaborate and develop a strategy that will increase use of native plants on private properties and help preserve existing native vegetation in the Greater Rappahannock region. GWRC received additional NOAA funding from the Virginia CZM Program to implement the “Plant Central Rappahannock Natives” campaign (FY 16, Task 50).

The demonstration garden produced under this grant will advance the goal of the “Plant Central Rappahannock Natives” campaign. Encouraging citizens to increase and maintain native vegetation for its ecological and aesthetic benefits is essential to protecting the ecological integrity of the Central Rappahannock region.  The garden and interpretive signage will convey the message that native plants have adapted to the local environment and have numerous environmental benefits including requiring little irrigation beyond normal rainfall, and little to no fertilizer and pesticide use. Additionally, native plants absorb stormwater runoff and nutrients which helps to protect water quality. And they provide critical wildlife habitats since many species of Virginia wildlife rely exclusively upon native flora to provide food and shelter.

King George County owns over 33 acres of land off of Route 205 which once included a 17.5 acre landfill. The landfill has been removed and after years of monitoring this area, the County began transforming the land into a park. The County officially opened Shiloh Park in 2013 and recently renamed it Cedell Brooks, Jr. Park to honor the retirement of long-standing Board of Supervisor member Cedell Brooks Jr.

King George provided the initial site development which included a baseball/softball field, a multipurpose field, a walking path, a parking lot, and playground equipment. Several community driven projects have also taken place to further enhance Brooks Park including a flag pole by Post 89 of the American Legion, Little Free Standing Library by a King George homeschool based group, bat boxes as an Eagle Scout project, wetland nature observation decks, and wetland identification interpretative signs.

This demonstration garden aligns with the Parks and Recreation Department’s mission to “To effectively deliver services by providing diverse and balanced recreation programs and facilities that incorporate the needs, interests and desires of our citizens. With citizens’ support and involvement and interactive utilization of facility, community and natural resources we contribute to maintaining community character, enhancing community spirit and developing partnerships between private enterprises, civic organizations and individuals; hence, reaching out enhancing lives and contributing to community livability.” In addition, the County envisions Brooks Park to be an educational, discovery and demonstration facility where visitors could learn through observation and hands-on experiences flora, fauna and conservation practices that may be applied at home.

The Plant Central Rappahannock Natives  Garden would  be  located at the west side of the parking lot along the existing trail (outlined in the aerial image at right). A design concept has been drawn by a local landscape designer at no cost to the project, with input from the Plant Central Rapp Natives Campaign regional team. The design lays out distinct sections, connected by pathways, to illustrate native plant groupings and layering for specific landscaping themes and growing conditions, such as rain gardens, meadow gardens, wetland areas, and planting for pollinators. All 72 native plant species to be installed in the demo garden are featured in the regional native plant guide “Native Plants for Central Rappahannock Virginia”, published by the campaign.

This grant would also fund installation of an entrance sign, partner acknowledgement sign and interpretive signage, as well as plant ID markers. The plant ID markers include a description and engraved drawing of the plant and the Plant Central Rapp Natives campaign logo and a QR code linking smart phone users to a downloadable copy of the regional plant guide - https://www.plantvirginianatives.org/native-plants-for-central-rapp/. These plant ID markers are used by other regional native plant campaigns and help to visibly connect the regional campaigns as a coast-wide effort.

A brochure will also be produced to guide visitors through the garden. This brochure will be distributed to local organizations and schools to encourage the use of the garden as an outdoor classroom and community resource.

Federal Funding:

$24,716

Project Contact:

Linda Millsaps, 540.373.2890, millsaps@gwregion.org

Project Status:

9/1/18 - 3/31/19; Project Open

Final Product:

 

Project Summary:

 

Disclaimer: This project summary provides the federal dollars initially awarded to the grantee. Due to underexpenditure or reprogramming of grant funds, this figure may change. For more information on the allocation of coastal grant funds, please contact Laura McKay, Virginia Coastal Program Manager, at 804.698.4323 or email:Laura.McKay@deq.virginia.gov

A more detailed Scope of Work for this project is available. Please direct your request for a copy to Virginia.Witmer@deq.virginia.gov or April.Bahen@deq.virginia.gov.

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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000


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