To help improve water quality in Deer Creek, the Deer Creek Club in Ladue has partnered with the Missouri Botanical Garden with funding from Missouri Department of Natural Resources to better manage stormwater on their club site and raise awareness about the benefits of stormwater management and ecological restoration.
Ecological restoration of the woodlands at the Deer Creek Club will lead to the recovery of an ecosystem that has been severely degraded which will greatly improve stormwater management and water quality. Removal of invasive plants and long term control of all invasive species is an essential element in the successful implementation of the habitat restoration plan.
The overall site plan prepared by SWT Design, a Landscape Architecture and Planning Firm, includes seven enhancement focus areas including rain gardens and native plantings to help soak up the water as well as create wildlife habitat, restore biodiversity, and beautify this site.
Focus Area 1 (Entrance/ Drive Way Corridor)
The main goal of focus area one will be to minimize the impact of driveway traffic to the woodland edges to reduce compaction of the soils and root systems. This will provide healthy growing conditions for the woodland edge trees and vegetation. Healthy soils and well established vegetation along the forest edge will maintain the capability of this area to absorb and filter stormwater runoff as well as provide wildlife habitat. Soils will be decompacted in areas and planted with deeply rooted native understory trees, shrubs, and forbs typical for oak/hickory forests. The landscaped area at the entrance to the club will also be enhanced with woodland plantings.
Focus Area 2 (Parking Lot)
Enhancements to focus area two will include re-organizing the parking area to provide club members and visitors with defined parking spaces and driving lanes. Runoff from the parking surface and deposits of granular materials are a major concern in regards to stormwater management and woodland restoration efforts. The improved parking layout will include the installation of permeable paving on the south of the existing parking lot and will allow for additional planting areas to be established with native understory trees, shrubs, grasses, and forbs that will function as rain gardens and filter runoff from adjacent paved areas.
Focus Area 3 (Culvert at Entry Corridor)
The main goal of focus area three will be to reduce the amount of runoff downhill from the culvert and the pollutants it carries with it from the uphill watershed. A rain garden, designed as a terraced stormwater retention and filtration area, will be installed uphill from the culvert. The filtered stormwater will be diverted to a flat area at the bottom of the hillside woodland where it will be captured to allow for further filtration and infiltration into the soil. During large storm events, excess water will further dissipate into the surrounding bottom woodlands.
Focus Area 4 (Deer Creek Club House)
Enhancements to focus area four will include installing a rain garden to capture and hold runoff from the downspouts on the west side of the building and the drainage path along the property line. Also due to the proximity of the neighbor’s building, drive way and garage in this area, plantings of evergreen trees in addition to small flowering native trees will help maintain the privacy of the Deer Creek Club. Other limited runoff from the downspout on the north side will be redirected into understory plantings along the north side of the building to slow the movement of water and allow for runoff from the roof to infiltrate into the woodland soils. A new mulched trail that will start at the existing deck will be added to allow visitors to engage with and observe the rain gardens and woodland plantings while overlooking the restoration of the oak/hickory hillside and bottom land forests. Non-native plants, invasive plants, and some of the existing lawn around the building will be replaced with biome typical woodland species of shrubs, grasses and forbs to enhance the character of a woodland setting, reduce maintenance, and increase water infiltration into the soil.
Focus Area 5 (Manhole and Stormwater discharge at Main Entry Drive)
Enhancements to focus area five include the installation of a large vegetated filtration area at the manhole at the entry to the property to retain the stormwater runoff the manhole is collecting from Log Cabin Lane and the neighboring property. Rock boulder wall outcroppings will create a retention area which will slow down the runoff allowing the native plantings and soil to absorb and filter it. Due to the large amount of runoff that is being drained into this area, boulders will have to be placed at the discharge point to eliminate further erosion and displacement of soils in the woodland. Several overflow weirs within the boulder wall outcropping will slow the release of stormwater into the woodlands for erosion control.
Focus Areas 6 (Hillside Woodlands) and 7 (Bottomland Woodlands)
The main goal of focus areas six and seven is to restore the woodlands by eliminating the honeysuckle and wintercreeper, which is hindering tree seeds from developing and establishing as seedlings, from the forest in order to establish an uneven age stand with higher populations of species diversity. The hillside oak/hickory forest currently consists of over-aged individuals, and is highly dominated by hackberry (Celtis), with very little population of understory trees. The genus oak (Quercus) and the genus hickory (Carya) each make up only approximately ten percent of the tree population. Seed production and natural reforesting of the woodlands is limited due to a very limited population of diversification according to a report from William J. Spradley, certified arborist. In addition to invasive species removal and the allowance of natural re-seeding, selective native woodland plantings will be established in accordance with the Deer Creek Club’s ten year reforestation plan.