Fred Fletcher Park Water Garden and Wetland
The Fred Fletcher Park Water Garden and Wetland is located near the intersection of Glenwood Avenue and Washington Street. It provides several benefits to park patrons and the City, including creating an aesthetically pleasing garden with a variety of evergreen and perennial plant species; a new ecosystem for this area of the park for butterflies, dragonflies, frogs, ducks, and other animal species; naturally filtering stormwater that flows into the water garden to clean the runoff before flowing downstream into Pigeon House Branch; and serving as an educational opportunity for neighboring schools and park patrons on the new habitat and the functions of the water garden.
Fred Fletcher Park lies within the Pigeon House Branch watershed, one of Raleigh's most polluted streams and this water garden and wetland improves water quality within this watershed. When it rains, polluted stormwater runoff passing through the Water Garden is naturally cleansed as it flows into deep pools and winds its way through the remaining wetland areas.
When visiting the water garden, you will notice different water levels within the garden. There are four deep pools which capture sediment, nutrients, and other pollutants as they drift to the bottom of the pools when stormwater flows into the Water Garden. After settling in the deep pools, the rest of the water flows in a winding path through the wetland areas where finer sediments and dissolved pollutants are filtered. Shallow land areas (or upper marsh zones) are seen in between the shallow water areas. These shallow land areas are normally dry land, but will temporarily be inundated with water when it rains.
A wide variety of wetland vegetation was selected for the different water depths and land areas within the Water Garden. This variety of plant species encourages a diverse wildlife population, including dragonflies, frogs, and other natural predators to prey on mosquitoes. You will see the wetland vegetation grow and mature throughout the growing seasons.
- The Water Garden and Wetland at Fred Fletcher Park is the proud recipient of the Natural Resource Conservation Award from the 2010 Raleigh Environmental Awards. The award was presented to CDM Smith, Fluvial Solutions, Raleigh's Stormwater Utility Division, and Raleigh's Parks and Recreation Department.
- In addition, CDM Smith was awarded the 2011 American Council of Engineering Companies - North Carolina Engineering Excellence Honors Award for the engineering and design of the Water Garden and Wetland at Fred Fletcher Park.
In the early 2000s, North Carolina initiated regulations for Raleigh and other local governments in the Neuse River Basin to protect its rivers and lakes from stormwater pollution. Stormwater runoff is created when rainwater runs off hard surfaces like rooftops, sidewalks, and roadways. As Raleigh continues to make efforts to improve water quality in local streams, rivers, and lakes, the results will have positive impacts throughout the Neuse Basin, including the Neuse River, its Estuary, and ultimately Pamlico Sound where the Neuse meets the Atlantic Ocean.
Before regulations were put in place to prevent stormwater pollution from Raleigh's growing development, stormwater would collect pollutants, such as nutrients, bacteria, and sediment, and carry them to the nearest stream and ultimately the Neuse River.
The Water Garden at Fred Fletcher Park is an example of a natural water feature that enhances the park while improving water quality. As pollutants are captured within areas of the water garden and vegetation helps filter nutrients out of the water, the City will need to maintain the water garden and periodically remove any accumulated pollutants.
The City of Raleigh was awarded grant funding in 2005 for the water garden project from an EPA Section 319 Grant, administered by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Additional funding was awarded to the City for Fred Fletcher Park Water Garden in 2007 from the North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund.
The City of Raleigh wishes to thank all project partners and funding sources for this exciting project. Fred Fletcher Park was designed by CDM Smith, Inc., constructed and completed in 2008 by Fluvial Solutions, Inc. The City Stormwater Utility staff provided project administration and management services.