The City of Bowling Green has been strategically converting its green spaces from high-maintenance, non-native turf areas to low-maintenance, native areas to meet sustainability goals and initiatives. Planting of low-maintenance, native vegetation provides numerous environmental benefits, which include habitat creation for monarch butterflies and other pollinators, carbon storage, increased biodiversity, stormwater retention, and more. This practice also reduces the resources needed for extensive management, reducing fuel, time, money, and pollution attributable to mowing large spaces on a weekly basis during the growing season. When established properly, the native plants and flowers also increase scenic value.
Over the years, the City’s focus has primarily been on increasing native spaces within its park properties and surrounding the solar field property. This year, those efforts will expand to the City’s Wastewater and Water Treatment facilities. Beginning in March 2023, site preparation will begin at both sites, which will include killing the existing turf grass. Throughout this year’s growing season, the areas to be planted will look dead, but will quickly bounce back to life next spring after the seeds, which will be planted this fall with assistance from Pheasants Forever, begin to grow with the warmer months and spring rains.
This restoration process will take approximately three years to complete. Over the next three years, those passing by the facilities will witness an exciting transformation of the spaces. Native flowers and prairie grasses will grow to an average height of 3-4 feet and cover most of the area surrounding the Wastewater Treatment Facility (~14.5 acres) and a large portion of the front lawn of the Water Treatment Facility (~1.5 acres).
Maps have been included to better outline the areas that will remain lawn compared to the areas that will be restored to native prairie grasses.
Water Treatment Plant Area Native Plant Map (PDF)
Wastewater Treatment Area Native Plant Map (PDF)