Dredging was just the first step for the Old City Cemetery and the resaca that winds alongside it. Attention has now turned to the bank improvement part of this project. This is necessary to reduce the effects of erosion and urban runoff, which will in turn help keep the resaca in healthier condition.
A silt fence was temporarily set up along the entire bank as a temporary measure to help prevent exposed soil from running back into the water. This fence will only be up during construction and helps identify some of what’s in store for the bank.
The main improvement will be the extensive planting of native vegetation along the banks. This will help prevent bank erosion, provide a habitat for animals and act as a natural filter to help prevent sediment, storm runoff and trash from entering the water. The plants will be an assortment of native shrubs and trees, including Montezuma cypress, ebony, cedar elm, sabal palm, water willow and coral bean.
Riprap in the form of rocks are placed along the bank to prevent erosion and will help provide a habitat for native wildlife. The riprap will be used wherever vegetation alone isn’t feasible because of the steepness of the bank.
A stormwater management area is also being constructed. This will help filter stormwater runoff before it enters the resaca, thereby reducing trash, debris and sediment. Another benefit will be to ease flooding conditions in the area.
The ultimate goal of this project is to create a gentler slope on the bank and create a more natural setting. The completion is scheduled for the spring, but you can already go there and see how much progress has been done.