Show off your holiday lights and you could win an iPad! Enter your photo by December 13. Winner will be selected by popular vote.
Roanoke County’s latest amenity is recreational, educational and ecologically sound.
Sunday, June 9, 2013
A stroller who makes her way around the South County Library and heads downhill can pick up an upland trail, an unremarkable pathway of stone dust, that soon rounds a bend to reveal Roanoke County’s newest wetlands trail.
It is a 900-foot boardwalk, actually, and it is lovely: in its material, in its top-down construction that allows it to skim over the ground’s surface, and in the way it gently curves through 2 or 3 acres of wetlands the county needs to preserve.
Our stroller can linger at a boardwalk overlook surrounded by a field of naturally growing irises and forget she is in the middle of suburbia — but for the steady trickle of walkers out for a little exercise. Residents already had hit the trail before its dedication last week.
It is a wonderful public amenity.
More than that, it is wise land use. Mandated by federal and state laws for wetlands protection, which can chafe when they restrict land development, but wise land use, nevertheless.
Wetlands preservation is habitat preservation for plant and animal life that thrives in swampy conditions. And, if the only habitat of interest to a person is the one he and his inhabit, it helps to preserve that, too.
Developing wetlands in ways that prevent its acting as a natural sponge can cause or worsen flooding devastating to the built environment.
More, wetlands filter and clean water as it soaks into the earth.
So they can play a big role in how communities improve storm water management, both in reducing the quantity of runoff and improving the quality of water that pours into local storm sewer systems and empties into streams and rivers, affecting the health of waterways far from the source.
Roanoke County residents will be hearing a lot about the latter in the months ahead as the county starts working seriously on tough new quality standards to comply with the 1972 Clean Water Act.
The boardwalk trail that opened last week makes good use of a protected tract for recreation and education. It traverses a small wetlands that, by itself, won’t have huge impact on storm water quality.
Its greatest value might be in opening people’s eyes to the beauty, tranquillity and usefulness of wetlands.
Weather JournalWarmth next 2 days hits icy wall