Baughman, of Gretchen Vadnais Landscape Architects,
and the National
Wildlife Federation have compiled suggested guidelines
for making your landscape more wildlife friendly. The
guidelines promote the essential habitat elements of:
- Water, and
- Places to raise young
Guidelines include the following:
- Mimic natural habitat by planting in layers: tall
overstory, small trees, shrub understory, and smaller
plants. Layers or other vertical elements (trellis,
screen) will help maximize planting area - a useful
technique for small spaces.
- Reduce impervious surfaces such as concrete driveways
or patios. Impervious surfaces create stormwater runoff
(which can negatively impact habitat within the watershed)
and act as dead space for wildlife.
- Maximize diversity by increasing the amount of "edge"
between plantings. The "Edge Effect" recognizes
that transition areas between habitat types support
a greater number and diversity of wildlife. Irregular
or curvilinear shaped planting beds will have more
"edge" than straight beds.
- Try to create as much diversity as possible.
Different wildlife species have varying needs
in terms of food, cover and nesting sites. The
more diverse your landscape is, the more wildlife
you can expect to attract.
- Plant a variety of habitat types: forest,
hedgerow, meadow, etc. Where appropriate, create
a wet bog or pond by disconnecting your downspouts
and directing the water to a low point in your
yard (be sure to stay 5-10 feet away from building
- Design around existing trees or other significant
vegetation on your property or surrounding areas.
By linking planting areas together, you can
create a "habitat corridor" for wildlife
to travel through from nearby natural areas.
- Lawn is dead space to wildlife. Reduce lawn
size and increase planting areas to attract
more wildlife. Replant lawn areas with an ecological
seed mix or wildflower meadow.
- Fences can be significant barriers to wildlife.
Build a semi-solid fence with wire, or leave
openings to allow wildlife through. Create a
"living fence" with tall shrubs that
add privacy without breaking up habitat corridors.
IMPROVE WATER QUALITY AND RECOVER SALMON
With the loss of several races of salmon and
the listing of whole species as endangered, our society
is reassessing its landscaping practices. Conventional
practices that utilize chemicals, route storm water
directly into sewers or streams, and remove bank-stabilizing
or other riparian vegetation are being looked at and
changed. Programs involved in this effort include the
for Clean Rivers program run through the City of
Portland and Multnomah County, OR, and similar programs
run by the Natural
Resources and Parks Division of King County Metro
in Seattle, WA.
In general, how we plant and maintain
our landscapes affects the water quality and habitat
in our rivers and streams. In an effort to improve water
quality in our local waterways and to thereby increase
our declining fish stocks, the following "salmonscaping"
consideration are presented.
- Pesticides and chemical fertilizers are common pollutants
in our streams, rivers and lakes. Eliminate their
use and recall that native plants thrive without them.
- Turf grass lawns waste water and energy and have
little value to wildlife. You can plant an "eco-lawn"
that is beautiful, easier to care for, and attracts
pollinators such as butterflies.
- Maintain turf height at a higher level, which will
create shading to help retain more moisture in the
lawn, resulting in less frequent mowing and watering.
Switching to manual or electric mowers reduces air
pollution as well.
- Stormwater runoff causes sediments and pollutants
to collect in our streams. If you live near a stream
you can plant trees and other native vegetation that
will shade the water for fish, provide food habitat
for other wildlife, and help keep our streams healthy
by slowing runoff and filtering pollutants.
- Plant drought-resistant native that, once established,
require less water because they are adapted to our
soils and climate. Water your garden using soaker
hoses or drip irrigation early in the morning or at
night. Don't over-water
turf grass requires
about 1" or water, or one deep watering, per
week in the absence of rain.
- Start a compost pile or recycle
your grass clippings and leaves to use as garden mulch.
Keep your compost pile away from storm drains, ditches,
streams, and wetlands to prevent runoff. PN
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