The Coffee Creek Watershed Conservancy, a non-profit organization incorporated in 1998, owns and manages the natural areas and recreational facilities within the Coffee Creek Watershed Preserve. Its mission is to protect and maintain the biodiversity of the Coffee Creek corridor and to provide educational and recreational experiences for the public.
The Coffee Creek Watershed Preserve is a 157-acre complex of wetlands, woodlands, and prairie. More than 400 native plant species have been identified on the property. The magnificent display of wildflowers from spring through fall is one of The Preserve’s most notable features. Unfortunately, many of the ornamental plants in established landscape beds have been overrun by cool season grasses and aggressive ornamental plants. At The Water Plaza, The Amphitheatre, The Weir bridge, and Pathway Islands, existing landscapes have become monocultures of unwanted cool season plants.
Working closely with the Conservancy, a simplified plant palette of native forbs and grasses was selected to transition the overgrown landscape beds. For those areas that receive full sun, the plant palette will be Prairie Dropseed interplanted with Butterfly Weed and Pale Purple Coneflower. For those areas in shade, the plant palette will be Oak Sedge interplanted with Wild Geranium, Mayapples, and Jacobs Ladder. Over time, as the new plants become established, additional wildflowers will be added.
The primary benefit will be an on-going reduction in maintenance, time spent weeding, and cost to continually replenish mulch in the beds. The Conservancy will soon be able to rely on one tool maintenance – prescribed fire. The new gardens will also benefit pollinators that visit the landscapes.