Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District (Warren Co SWCD) and the Warren County Foundation have entered into a partnership to promote conservation best management practices with the establishment of the Urban Conservation Learning Lab (the Lab). This public education space will demonstrate simple, affordable conservation opportunities that Warren County residents can implement to help improve the stormwater quality, soil health, and pollinator populations. Phase I of the Lab entailed the installation of the rain garden, sponge garden, rain barrels, compost bins, and small pollinator house. Phase II will be composed of a patchwork permiable pavement walkway, large pollinator house, community art installation, and turf alternative display. The Lab will address the following pressing challenges:
Water Quality In most urban settings, approximately 55 percent of rainwater becomes surface runoff. This can negatively impact water quality as sediment and unseen pollutants, such as lawn fertilizers and chemicals, become free to move with urban runoff. Extensive surface runoff during and after high intensity rainfall events can increase the likelihood of local and downstream flooding. Conservation measures help to capture, infiltrate, and clean stormwater, reducing a property’s contribution to water quality degradation, flashy stream flows, and localized flooding.
Loss of Pollinator Habitat Pollinating insects are among the most important to human populations and native biodiversity as they facilitate the vital process of pollination, either to perpetuate native plant species or produce many of the crops we rely on for food at the global scale. Pollinators are in decline for a variety of reasons including the loss of habitat. The Lab will be home to a variety of small best management practices that most homeowners could build and maintain regardless of their lawn size.