Greenway, District Park & Open Space Maintenance Practices
Sustainable Maintenance Standards (revised 7-9-08)
Why we developed these standards:
For the past few years the City of Longmont has been planning for the eventuality that growth in tax base cannot keep pace with the rising costs of providing city services. The current economic downturn has challenged the City’s budget resources. On-going operational and maintenance programs have been encouraged to focus on sustainable solutions. This web page describes efforts underway to ensure that “doing more with less” results in minimal reduction in services to our customers.
What are District Parks and Greenways?
The Longmont Area Comprehensive Plan defines Greenways as linear corridors that permit public access. The purposes of greenways (also known as Primary Greenways) are to accommodate trail-oriented recreation, provide for wildlife movement through urban areas, connect residential areas to the bikeway network, and provide for the storm drainage and its maintenance. These greenways, in combination with the street bikeway system, connect the City’s parks, schools, neighborhoods and other community facilities as part of the city-wide multi-model transportation plan.
District Parks and Open Space properties are places of special interest and uses that are different from either Neighborhood or Community Parks. These parks focus on natural areas or special features that provide low impact, passive recreation opportunities. These opportunities may include trails, boat ramps, watchable wildlife areas, fishing, picnic areas / shelters, parking lots and restrooms.
The following are District Parks or Open Space properties that are either entirely native or include zones of natural habitat within their boundaries:
St. Vrain Greenway
Rough & Ready Greenway
Spring Gulch Greenway
Dry Creek Greenway and several Secondary Greenways throughout the City
Izaak Walton Ponds
Jim Hamm Pond
Sandstone Ranch District Park
Pavlakis Open Space
Boulder Creek Estates Open Space
Left Hand Creek Greenway
Change of development philosophy
Development standards for greenways have evolved over the past 15 years from bluegrass lawn-intensive recreational corridors to areas that now include native and wildlife supportive plant materials. Recognition of the importance of greenways as wildlife corridors has grown. Changes to greenway development standards have included:
- Use of water conserving turf species where adjacent to homes
- Use of native grasses along ditches or creeks
- Use of shrub and tree species that benefit wildlife for inherent shelter and forage qualities
- Wildlife buffers - offset from the riparian edge by a minimum 150’ (this is a new standard put in place with the Wildlife Management Plan adopted by City Council in 2007)
It is the intention of district parks and greenways to balance the enhancement of native habitats for wildlife protection and the enjoyment and access of citizens. The design and maintenance of these areas will predominantly focus on habitat enhancement by increasing cover, removing non-native plants, noxious weeds and managing wildlife, while maintaining access trails for people, as appropriate.
What are the benefits?
In addition to providing for wildlife presence and movement in these areas, the City also reduces water use and lessens mowing frequency. These modifications are also supported by the City’s Raw Water Master Plan as well and the City’s 2007 Water Supply and Drought Management Plan.
New Maintenance Guidelines
Mowing will become more seasonal and sporadic based on rainfall, with the primary goal of plant health. Plant cover may increase in height and this may be controversial especially when in proximity of residential development. Weed control may include mowing, burning, hand pulling, cutting and/or herbicides – with treatments tailored to each specific area as appropriate.
Restoration and re-vegetation will be used as needed to improve habitat health, reduce weeds and increase plant diversity. These actions may result in closure and heavy disturbance, as needed for short periods. Forestry and overall landscape care will keep trails safe but otherwise the intent is to mimic the native landscape.
Greenway Maintenance Guidelines:
On those sides of a greenway where a concrete trail is present:
- One mower width swath maintained on either side of the concrete trail
- Area between concrete trail and residential development mowed on an every other week basis between May 15 Thru Sept 15, this is identified as the Urban Interface.
- Area between trail and Drainage may be mowed 2 to 3 times per year between June thru Sept 30, or as needed to support the establishment native vegetative cover and control weeds , this is identified as the Natural Area
On those sides of a greenway without a concrete trail:
- The Urban Interface will be maintained with a mow swath directly behind the residential development, on an every other week basis between May 15 thru Sept 15
- The width of the Urban Interface mow swath will be a minimum of 10 ft and may vary depending on terrain and vegetation. Slope and vegetation adjacent to residence may limit staff’s ability to mow
- The Natural Area between Drainage and the Urban Interface may be mowed 2 to 3 times per year between June 1 thru Sept 30, or as needed to support the establishment native vegetative cover and control weeds
- Weed Control in both the Urban Interface and the Natural Area will be on an as needed basis
- Methods may include: mowing, burning, hand pulling, cutting and/or herbicides
- Urban Interface - 2x per week (time adjusted for weather conditions)
- Natural Area – supplemental irrigation during the establishment periods and as much as 1x per week (time adjusted for weather conditions). Goal is to eliminate on-going irrigation.
- Swept once every two weeks
- Graffiti Removal response within a 48 hour period
- Snow removal on an event basis
- Trash to be removed a minimum of 2x per week
- Pet Waste – City will provide pet waste stations at appropriate intervals throughout the various greenways, it is hoped that waste bags will be provided by users on a voluntary basis and used bags disposed of properly!
- Weed control as needed - grasses encouraged to grow into beds to provide cover
- Beds will be edged, mulched and tree and shrub structure will be maintained on an annual basis
- Weed control as needed.