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Volunteers plant 1,600 trees for Garner Street drainage

MADISON – Even project organizers were surprised by the work accomplished in one day to improve drainage of Garner Street.

On Nov. 4, volunteers and city employees planted 1,600 wetland trees to improve Garner Street drainage. After FEMA approves the work, this project will remove about 38 homes from the floodplain and create three acres of viable commercial land within the City of Madison. In addition, the efforts will generate four acres of constructed wetlands.

The trees were planted in two detention ponds at the southern end of Garner Street (still under construction). The ponds are visible east of Sullivan Street, near Royal Drive.

City engineers prepared the project to remove water through transpiration. The trees will clean the water through filtration and reduce stream scour.

The design converts the storm water runoff of the drainage basin from post-development to pre-development conditions, City Communications Specialist Samantha Magnuson said. Workers installed a trash rack to capture any debris larger than a tennis ball.

“I was completely overwhelmed and in awe of the volunteers and their dedication. We weren’t sure if we would be able to plant that many saplings in one day, but everyone came together to make it happen,” City Event and Volunteer Coordinator Gayle Milam said.

“We are excited to continue to work with the Just Serve organization and give back to our Madison community,” Milam said.

The cooperative endeavor included volunteers from Boy Scouts, high school students from Bob Jones and James Clemens, Madison residents and the citizens’ group Just Serve. City of Madison Engineering Department and Public Works Department also worked determinedly to make this project a success, Magnuson said.

A Capital Improvement Plan project funded the wetland work. The design reduces flooding while improving water quality that Alabama Department of Environmental Management or ADEM requires.

City workers considered many natural elements in developing the volunteer activity. Workers installed purple martin and bat houses at the ponds as a natural insect control mechanism. The city purchased the houses from Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind.

For more information, visit madisonal.gov.

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