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The original item was published from 4/11/2023 10:20:00 AM to 4/14/2023 9:20:16 AM.

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Water - News

Posted on: February 15, 2023

[ARCHIVED] Local Rain Gardens Continue to Thrive With Help From Controlled Burns

Photo of 3 people performing a controlled burn of a streetside rain garden.

Controlled burns are scheduled to be performed during the spring months in rain gardens and stormwater features throughout Washtenaw County - as weather conditions permit. PlantWise, LLC, the contractor responsible for controlled burns for the Water Resources Commissioner’s Office, notes that “Before widespread European settlement, fire was the dominant natural process sculpting our natural areas. Most prairies, savannas, wetlands, and woodlands would burn on a regular basis.”

Ecologically, it is important to burn natural areas such as rain gardens so that the prairie-like ecosystems continue to flourish. Invasive species frequently can out-compete native plants and can take over local ecosystems. Controlled burns help reduce invasive species and encourage native plants to thrive. 

Controlled burns are anticipated to be conducted in the following sites: 

(Photo above right: Controlled burn in rain garden on Miller Avenue, taken by Thomas Nightswander)

The Washtenaw County Office of the Water Resources Commissioner has collaborated with the City of Ann Arbor’s Parks and Recreation and Public Services departments on controlled burns located within the City of Ann Arbor. Burns at the sites listed above will be conducted by a professional contractor, PlantWise, LLC. Since their founding in 1998, PlantWise, LLC has completed nearly 1,100 burns totaling over 17,000 acres.

Each burn is weather dependent and cannot be scheduled until the morning of the burn day. Burn plans will be developed for each site considering temperature, humidity, wind, moisture of the vegetation, crew needs, and more. Burn permits will also be obtained from the Fire Department. If you would like to see these documents or have any questions, please contact the Water Resources Commissioner’s Office at [email protected].

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