The Ruffner Mountain Wetland began as collaboration between the Ruffner Mountain Preserve's staff and Macknally Land Design to design and construct a wetland as a demonstration for park visitors. Capturing water that flows from an artesian well and natural springs, this replica of a natural wetland system reflects nature's own filtration process. The water flows through a series of wetlands planted with a variety of aquatic vegetation before flowing to an existing natural creek bed. All of the vegetation planted on the site is native and non-invasive. The Landscape Architect worked with local growers to provide the native species, such as swamp sunflower, button bush, and indian grass. The Landscape Architect provided all design and construction documents for this project with consultation from geotechnical and environmental engineers.MORE »
Access to the wetland is provided via compacted stone paths and wooden boardwalks. These allow visitors to view and enjoy the wetlands, while not harming the sensitive ecological environments as they thrive. Interpretive signage is incorporated into the site to explain key elements. Boulder outcrops in a wooded area adjacent to the wetlands provide seating and views of the wetlands for teaching moments.
Located on the far side of the mountain from the main entry, the wetlands are accessed from numerous hiking trails. Completed in April of 2008, the Ruffner staff let the restored vegetation establish and animals return before officially opening the wetlands in July. Prior to the official opening, Ruffner staff cataloged the return of several species, including hawk, heron, bullfrog, and squirrel. The wetland area will eventually include pervious parking for visitors, a 'green' building ranger station with compositing toilets, and a new entry road to the park on the Irondale side of the mountain.