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Detention Basin Wetland Development

As part of the construction of parking lots for the new ORNL Conference Center, a large detention basin was created in late 2005. Rather than seed this basin with the standard, non-native fescue grass mix, a decision was made to establish native vegetation more appropriate for wetland conditions.

Thus, during early 2006 vegetation was established using both plants and seeds purchased from local sources and plants transferred from other wetlands on the ORR. These plants were supplemented by volunteers that grew from the existing bank of seeds in the soil. Additional plantings of shrubs were made in 2007. The only maintenance to the basin has been a few spot sprayings of herbicide to eliminate some invasive plants.

By 2010 this lack of maintenance had resulted in several apparent problems (e.g., erosion). Thus, a document, Storm Water Detention Pond: Management Considerations, was prepared that discusses the issues that this lack of maintenance was causing and suggests solutions. Potential implementation of those solutions will be considered in the future.

Photos taken from December 2005 through September 2010 show the development of the wetland vegetation since the basin was created.

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All photos by Mike Ryon.

The table below lists the species growing in the detention basin and indicates whether they are volunteers or were intentionally planted.

Species Growing in the Basin
(click on underlined common names to see pictures1)

Common name Scientific name Source2 Type
Woody Plants
Indigobush Amphora fruticosa Nashville Natives Plug
Redbud Cercis canadensis Volunteer Seed bank
Green ash Fraxinus pennsylvanica Volunteer Seed bank
Sycamore Platanus occidentalist Volunteer Seed bank
Cottonwood Populus deltoides Volunteer Seed bank
Black willow Salix nigra Volunteer Seed bank
Elderberry Sambucus canadensis Warren County Nursery Sapling
Sensitive fern Onoclea sensibilis ORR wetland Rooted transplant
Royal fern Osmunda regalis Nashville Natives Rooted transplant
Rushes and sedges
Frank's sedge Carex frankii Volunteer Seed bank
Fox sedge Carex vulpinoidea Mellow Marsh Seed
Fox sedge Carex vulpinoidea ORR wetland Rooted transplant
Umbrella sedge Cyperus alternifolius Volunteer Seed bank
Spikerush Eleocharis acicularis Volunteer Seed bank
Common spikerush Eleocharis obtusa Volunteer Seed bank
Squareside spikerush Eleocharis quadrangulata ORR wetland Rooted transplant
Soft rush Juncus effusus Mellow Marsh Seed
Soft rush Juncus effusus Nashville Natives Plug
Black rush Scirpus atrovirens Wykles Nursery Plug
Rufous bulrush Scirpus pendulus Volunteer Seed bank
Smooth bulrush Scirpus validus ORR wetland Rooted transplant
Big bluestem Andropogon gerardi Ernst Conservation Seeds Seed
Barnyard grass Echinochloa crusgalli Volunteer Seed bank
Riverbank wild rye Elymus riparius Mellow Marsh Seed
Fowl mana grass Glyceria striata Mellow Marsh Seed
Rice cutgrass Leersia oryzoides Volunteer Seed bank
Paspalum grass Paspalum sp. Volunteer Seed bank
Eastern gama grass Tripsacum dactyloides Mellow Marsh Seed
Sweet flag Acorus americanus ORR wetland Rooted transplant
Water plantain Alisma subcordatum ORR wetland Rooted transplant
Swamp milkweed Asclepias incarnata Nashville Natives Plug
Plains tickseed Coreopsis tinctoria Volunteer Seed bank
Dog fennel Eupatorium capillifolium Volunteer Seed bank
Late boneset Eupatorium serotinum Volunteer Seed bank
Swamp rosemallow Hibiscus moscheutos Wykles Nursery Rooted transplant
Southern blueflag iris Iris virginica Nashville Natives Plug
Marsh blazing star Liatris spicata Ernst Conservation Seeds Seed
Turk's-cap lily Lilium superbum Nashville Natives Plug
Cardinal flower Lobelia cardinalis Nashville Natives Plug
Great lobelia Lobelia siphilitica Nashville Natives Plug
Alternate-leaved seedbox Ludwigia alternifolia Volunteer Seed bank
American bugleweed Lycopsus americanus Volunteer Seed bank
Monkey flower Mimulus ringens Volunteer Seed bank
Pennsylvania smartweed Polygonum pensylvanicum Ernst Conservation Seeds Seed
Pickerelweed Pontederia cordata Wykles Nursery Rooted transplant
Heal all Prunella vulgaris Volunteer Seed bank
Common arrowhead Sagittaria latifolia ORR wetland Rooted transplant
Lizard's tail Saururus cernuus Nashville Natives Plug
Goatsbeard Tragopogon dubius Volunteer Seed bank
Cattail Typha latifolia Volunteer Seed bank
Ironweed Vernonia noveboracensis Ernst Conservation Seeds Seed

1 All photos by Mike Ryon unless indicated otherwise.

2 Contact the sources by following the links or contact below:

Ernst Conservation Seeds

Mellow Marsh Farm

Nashville Natives

Warren County Nursery

Wykles Nursery (no web page)
538 Country Lane
Lenoir City, TN 37771
(865) 986-4599

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Last Updated: September 29, 2010