Sustainable landscaping incorporates a mix of plant species native to an area, and therefore more likely to thrive there, which in turn attracts a variety of pollinators and other fauna to the property. Sustainable landscaping can also be very beneficial for managing storm water, especially in areas with significant runoff from hardscaped areas, such as asphalt and concrete. Incorporating bioswales in landscaping helps to filter runoff, which may contain pollutants, before it enters a nearby surface water body or drainage way. Bioswales also reduce the speed and quantity of runoff by allowing some of it to infiltrate into the ground.
Why was sustainable landscaping used on the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation property?
DNREC's Site Investigation & Restoration Section selected the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation property for a sustainable landscape demonstration project in an urban setting due to its location on and high-profile visibility from the Christina River, as well as the many visitors to the Kalmar Nyckel and Challenge Program properties, and neighboring Fort Christina. The property is a Certified Brownfield Site, which was cleaned up under the Delaware Brownfields Program administered by DNREC-SIRS, in conjunction with the construction of the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation’s Copeland Maritime Center and the Challenge Program buildings. As part of the redevelopment, much of the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation property was capped with asphalt and concrete, with smaller portions capped with DNREC-approved soil and stabilized with a traditional grass cover.
To create a sustainable landscape on the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation property, native species were planted in the bioswale, constructed to direct storm water runoff towards the Christina River, and also planted on an upland portion of the Site to create a meadow. In September 2015, more than 4,000 wildflower and grass plants, and approximately 400 shrubs and trees were planted on the property. For a complete list of the plantings, click here. Since the planting, many pollinators and other fauna have been observed on the property that had not been seen previously.
History of the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation site
From 1863 until 1950, the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation Site was the location of a large portion of the Jackson & Sharp rail car manufacturing operations. Modern environmental regulations were not enacted until after plant operations had ceased; therefore, material handling and disposal practices at the time of Jackson & Sharp operations would not have been as considerate of environmental impact as those practiced by industry today. Under the Delaware Brownfields Program, cleanup actions for the Site were implemented in order to minimize exposure to the metals and semi-volatile organic compounds detected in site soils and groundwater likely present from historic industrial operations.