The Ecology of Riverfront Development
Like Headwaters Park before it, the development of Promenade Park along the banks of the St. Marys River brings a focused attention to our downtown rivers. While the Rivergreenway trail has flanked these rivers for thirty years, recently we have seen more and more people ON our rivers. In kayaks, canoes, pontoon boats, and on stand-up paddleboards, we have rediscovered our rivers in Fort Wayne.
You may have heard about the Fort Wayne Riparian Management Plan. This plan, commissioned by the City of Fort Wayne, stresses the importance of the “riparian” buffers along our waterways. Riparian is really just another word for riverbanks. These buffers have the potential to cause harm, or to greatly benefit, the water quality of adjacent water bodies. This Riparian Plan describes what currently exists in this riparian zone and outlines recommendations for how to improve upon that. We’re lucky that past park development addressed maintaining natural conditions along our riverbanks, but we still have work to do. Many cities aren’t as lucky. We now have a plan, a guide to riparian health that we have begun to implement. View the plan.
Alec Johnson is the landscape architect for the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department. His focus is park planning, design, and management of landscape and horticulture operations.
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