Maintaining and deliberately creating green spaces can help mitigate flooding, provide cooling, increase biodiversity, regenerate soils, support pollinators, have a positive effect on mental health, enhancing the resiliency of a community. It’s important to know what natural assets a community has and to conserve, protect or restore them. Actions include planting trees and rain gardens, depaving, and green roofs.
1. Plant trees
Planting trees at home, work, school or as part of a community-wide project has so many benefits for climate action. Planting trees, especially those that are native and climate resilient, sequesters carbon, helps absorb runoff, increases biodiversity, provides shade, helps reduce heat islands and more. Having more trees and green spaces also helps people feel better. All ages can help plant trees, and planting trees is a great educational experience too. In Sackville, there are lots of great resources that could help with community tree planting programs and initiatives including EOS Eco-Energy, Community Forests International and Replant.ca Environmental.
Native and Climate Change Resilient Trees include: Red maple, white pine, sugar maple, red oak, American beech, black cherry
For more information visit: Forests of the Future
2. Plant rain gardens
A rain garden is a shallow depression planted with native water-loving flowers, grasses and ferns located in a spot to collect rainwater or runoff from roofs, parking lots, roads, and other hard surfaces. They mimic natural environments and absorb rainwater to help reduce flooding, filter runoff, and recharge ground water supplies. The plants have deep roots which help break up the soil, improve its permeability, and allow the plants to find water during dry spells. You can dig and plant a small rain garden at home, work or school, or organize a community rain garden program. Native plants such as Joe Pye Weed, Black-eyed Susan, Ostrich Fern, Blue Flag Iris, Blue Vervain, Swamp Milkweed, Bloodroot, sedges and Sweet Grass, can be purchased locally from Anderson’s Greenhouse. EOS Eco- Energy is a local leader in rain gardens and has planted dozens in Sackville. It is most beneficial to have lots of small rain gardens all over town so there is a lot of opportunity.
For more information check out this rain garden infographic: sm-Rain-Gardens-How-to-Handout-for-Tantramar
3. Reduce pavement
Reducing the amount of pavement, concrete and other hard ground coverings will help slow, and absorb rainwater runoff and reduce flood risk. Depaving is becoming a popular community-based activity that all ages can participate in. Remove a section of pavement such as part of a paved parking lot, ally way, etc. and choose from a variety of permeable options such as permeable asphalt, stones, grass tiles, etc. Better yet plant a rain garden, with water-loving native plants. Driveways, walkways, unused parking areas or patios at home, work or school could be depaved. Or work together to depave larger areas community wide. EOS Eco-Energy has experience depaving a parking lot in Sackville and coordinating repaving with permeable asphalt.
4. Install green roofs
Green roofs are another example of community-based natural infrastructure and can be planted with low-maintenance grasses, sedums, edible plants or larger installations including trees and shrubs. An engineering assessment to verify load capacity of the roof is required before a green roof can be designed. Planting green spaces on suitable roofs has many benefits including absorbing rainwater and reducing runoff, saving energy and reducing cooling costs, increasing biodiversity, supporting pollinators, and improving the wellbeing of people in and around the building. Green roofs also provide exciting learning opportunities for all ages and make use of available space in an innovative way. The Sackville town hall has had a small green roof for many years. EOS Eco-Energy, the Town of Sackville and other local properties have plans for more green roof installations.
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