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Creating a Native LandscapeAssess site conditions
For any potential project, understanding the site’s natural features
is imperative to help determine if the project goals can feasibly be
achieved. Site conditions also dictate species likely to thrive there.
Before selecting plant species, be sure to have a solid understanding
of your site’s soils, hydrology, topography, and solar exposure.
When creating a native landscape, there are additional existing
conditions that need to be understood during the project planning
stage, including the vegetation already present on the site,
adjacent land uses and conditions, sensitive natural resources, and
access to the site.
Vegetative cover and the site’s seed bank, which includes seed
dropped from existing vegetation and any sub-surface dormant
seed, can have a significant impact on a native landscape’s
success. Understanding the existing vegetation, including the
presence of invasive species and the previous land use, will help
define site preparation needs. Existing species on a site also
often reveal clues about soil fertility and hydrologic conditions.
This information can be used to determine what other species
will perform well after installation. Cardno can assist with site
assessment and invasive species control.
Adjacent land uses and conditions
Landscapes do not necessarily respect property boundaries.
Vegetative cover on adjacent sites can have a significant impact
on a native landscape’s success. Poorly managed adjacent
properties can negatively impact the success of a site’s
management plan. If it is possible, managing unwanted plants
on adjacent sites will help with long-term site establishment
and maintenance. In addition, understanding adjacent land uses
will help ensure that the plant species selected will be able to
withstand any externalities.
Sensitive natural and cultural resources
It is also important to determine whether a site has any sensitive
natural resources, such as wetlands, streams, or other water
sources; any Rare, Threatened, and Endangered (RTE) species and
their habitats; or historically or culturally significant resources.
Protecting natural and cultural resources on a site can significantly
affect planning, design, construction, management, and overall
project costs. Understanding whether there may be permitting
and compliance requirements as a result of these site attributes is
critical to a successful project.
Some sites are in remote locations, or are difficult to reach. Design
your project with any such limitations in mind, and make sure that
appropriate equipment can be used during both installation and
maintenance. Keep in mind that specialized equipment will likely be
required for maintaining larger-scale wetland or aquatic projects.
Cardno can perform a detailed site assessment and create custom
recommendations for your project.