Spaddadock Pond I: Design

All summer Justin and I have been planning, on rainy days and during off times, a wetland planting for a small pond dug out for fill about ten years ago. Since all of the topsoil was removed, wetland vegetation has been slow to take hold. The pond is right next to a running trail that runs through the Tinker Air Force Base Urban Greenway. The goal is to establish plants around the pond that will take care of themselves, improve the wildlife value of the pond, and look great when John takes people on tours. This last one was especially important because the pond is in the first section of the greenway, which is meant to serve as a model and a demonstration.

We started by coming out with a species list, generated by looking through native plant nursery catalogues, wildflower guides, and wetland rehabilitation guides that were lying around the office. Very early on we realized that we were coming up with an enormous number of species, more than we could ever use on the site. So, we tightened up our criteria and started eliminating species. For starters, we got rid of any plant that was not native to the central portion of Oklahoma, the Central Great Plains. Since our pond was in the sun, we got rid any species that would wilt in high sunlight. Plants that need rich organic soils were the next to go, since our soils were anything but. This went on for a while until we arrived at a list that was almost manageable, and with nothing else to eliminate, we just went through and kept the species we liked aesthetically.

Once we had our plant list, it was time to decide where to put what, which turned out to be more complicated than I would have ever expected. Much to John and Justin's amusement, I made like 30 different versions of each of the drawings, and finally produced the three phases below:

In Phase I, which we planted today, all the aquatic and emergent vegetation was
planted, mostly because its so dry in the summer so the only plants we could put in
the ground were those that "had their feet wet."

In Phase II, to be planted this fall, we added all the shore plants around
the pond to give it a finished look. We also added two trees, shown as circles, a cottonwood
(male so as not to bother people's allergies to the cottony seeds) and a redbud.
One surprising thing we had to consider was the height of the plants, since we
don't want to put tall plants right in front of the trail, where they would block
the view of the pond and bother runners by leaning into the trail.

In Phase III, to be planted this fall or later as time/money allows, we focused
on an intermittently flo0ded area that flows into the pond. We added several more
solid single-species stands, as well as two "Mixed" areas. The Wet Mix is meant to
be a sort of seed dump, where any extra seed from the other zones is planted to
see what takes. The Sun Mix is meant to connect the area to the rest of the reserve.

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