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The Bio Retention basins at Butler University serve to capture and infiltrate storm water from the renovated north end of campus. The basins are designed to take advantage of sand and gravel alluvial deposits to infiltrate the storm water.
The basins were constructed in 2006 and planted in the spring of 2007. The side slopes were planted with prairie species while the bottom was planted with sedge meadow species. The plants were watered during the summer drought of 2007 and have established well. Heavy rains in the spring and early summer of 2008 resulted in shallow standing water in the bottom of the basin, however, the sedge meadow plants survived the inundation quite well.
Fifty seven species of native plants were utilized in the installation, resulting in a highly diverse planting with excellent educational value. It is hoped that the basins will be used in botanical and water quality curriculums in the future.
Maintenance of this type of installation is minimal. It is recommended that the previous year’s vegetation is cut and removed annually in late winter. The installation should also be monitored and treated if necessary for invasive plant species such as Canada thistle and Reed canary grass. Finally, the forebay may need to be clean periodically if excessive sediment accumulates, however this will rarely be needed unless there is construction in the watershed.