The Benefits of Bringing in a Consultant on your Green Roof Project

Posted by Ecogardens


Ecogardens has emerged as a trusted source for consulting and project management when it comes to green roofs.

If you’ve ever wondered how the process all works and how it can help you mitigate risk, save money, and create higher quality projects, read on for a short interview with Greg Raymond, Founder of Ecogardens and experienced Green Roof Project Manager.

Question: There are many benefits to bringing in a Consultant or Project Manager for your sustainability projects—especially green roofs. In your view, what are the top benefits and how do they relate to each particular stakeholder in a given project?

Greg: It depends. Most of the people we work with have a considerable degree of expertise in their field, but when it comes to green roofs, there are a lot of moving parts and it can be helpful to bring in folks like us who have done it effectively and economically, for years.

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Topics: Green Roofs

SPOTLIGHT on the Land and Water Conservation Fund

Posted by Ecogardens


When was the last time you walked through a national park and thought to yourself ... “Boy, good thing the Land and Water Conservation Fund is here to make sure these wild places get their full funding?”

If you answered “never,” then you’re in good company. Most people don’t know exactly how our outdoor areas receive their vaunted protection.

Well, spoiler alert: It doesn’t come free.

Rather, it’s the result of hard work and hustling on the part of Dedicated Parties ranging from citizen coalitions to national conservation organizations to even, if you can believe it, our elected officials.

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Topics: Stewardship

Is Your Fountain Lonely? How a Floating Wetland is the Ideal Companion

Posted by Ecogardens


Fountains have been gracefully shooting water into ponds for millennia. In fact, the first documented fountain was of a goddess in 3000 B.C. For thousands of years fountains relied on gravity to do their special thing, until King Louis XIV wanted a fountain at Versailles that required 257 different pumps.

Modern fountains were born.

Unlike old King Louis, today’s fountains are less of a statement about the power of man over nature, and more about the balance of nature.

But those of us in the business of keeping ecosystems in balance – whether natural or urban ecosystems – have long known that fountains are more than just pretty to look at and nice to listen to.

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Topics: Floating Wetlands

Just Say No: How to get Your Retention Pond off Harsh Chemicals

Posted by Ecogardens


To the average dog-walker, bird-watcher or picnicker, retention ponds are just part of the background. Sure, most people might know something about their usefulness or necessity, and some people might even appreciate them.

After all, a well-designed and maintained retention pond can be very pretty to look at.

But for those of us in the know, retention ponds are an integral part of stormwater management. There are a lot of ways to manage stormwater, but retention ponds, or, I should say, properly managed retention ponds, are a key part of stormwater management.

Operating as both storage for extra water from storms or snowmelt that can overwhelm urban infrastructure, and as a water quality treatment, the design can be fantastic.

There’s only one problem. If not properly designed or maintained (frequent problems when cities are dotted with retention ponds), there can be some pretty serious impacts on water quality.

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Topics: Floating Wetlands

Interview with Bruce Kania, Founder of Floating Island International

Posted by Ecogardens


When your best mate, or, in this case, best mutt, leads you to the career of a lifetime, it has to be fate.

That’s what happened to Bruce Kania, founder, CEO, President and Research Director of Floating Island International over fifteen years ago.

Rufus, a swim-loving lovable mutt, spent his free time taking laps in late summer on a pond on Bruce and his wife Anne’s 340-acre home along the Yellowstone River northeast of Billings, Montana. The land was idyllic. It had water, wildlife, gorgeous sunset views and a pond, where black-furred Rufus would emerge after his swim a questionable shade of red. And he’d stink.

So, maybe that part wasn’t so idyllic.

Worried about the pond, and the stench coming in waves off his dog, Bruce sought the advice of friends who worked at Montana State University. They told Bruce that the worrisome reddish hue coating Rufus was actually cyanobacteria.

Bruce asked what he could do. And a new career began.

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Topics: Floating Wetlands

A Day Without Water

Posted by Ecogardens


This year, it’s not much of a stretch to imagine a Day Without Something. Remember when you thought you’d have to go without toilet paper? Or hand sanitizer? And the run on potatoes and pasta was something to see!

We don’t mean to poke fun. Back in the spring, when it felt like suddenly we might not have access to whatever modern day or basic supply we might want was shocking, and a little scary.

Which makes this year’s Imagine a Day Without Water a little close to home for most of us, and incredibly relevant as we think about what we want our world to look like in the coming years.

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Topics: Stormwater Management, Stewardship

Can Floating Wetlands Save You Money?

Posted by Ecogardens


There are probably as many reasons to add a Floating Wetland to your property as there are benefits for doing so.

But we’re guessing one reason that doesn’t make the list is that you want to spend a bunch of money.

We get it. Everyone wants their landscape to be both beautiful and functional, without breaking the bank. Floating Wetlands – ticking both the beautiful and functional boxes – are no different.

If you’re thinking of installing a Floating Wetland, probably one of two things have caught your attention. One, you are having water quality issues and heard about their incredible value. Or two, you’re looking to add an eye-catching feature to a water body.

In deciding if installing a Floating Wetland is the right water quality solution for you, you really need to take a look at your other alternatives. We call this the Dark Side.

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Topics: Floating Wetlands

What Is Eutrophication and Why Should It Matter More?

Posted by Ecogardens


Algae blooms are a serious problem, mucking up waterways, killing fish and endangering humans. What can we do?

Red tide (not to be confused with Red Dawn, which is an awesome movie) is a phenomenon pretty much all of us have heard of.

Likewise, almost everyone has experienced a bummer of a summer day or two, in which the local lake or river was closed to swimming due to algal blooms.

If you’ve ever walked along the shore of a normally crystalline body of water, only to witness a murky green more appropriate to The Creature from the Black Lagoon than to a picnic, you know what we’re talking about.

Algae blooms, also known as algal blooms, are a serious problem these days. They deplete oxygen in the water supply, choking out the organisms that live there. Some species of algae may even produce neurotoxins, which is dangerous to fish, wildlife, other plants and even humans.

While some blooms occur naturally, much of the issue comes down to eutrophication. Today, let’s turn our attention to this critical concept so we can make a game plan to change the future and make the world a greener place.

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Topics: Stewardship, Floating Wetlands

What Is a Floating Wetland and Why Should You Care?

Posted by Ecogardens


You’ve heard of a wetland, and you know what floating is. But how can a wetland … float? We’re here to answer that question, so grab that coffee and start scrolling.

No one needs to tell you that water pollution is a big issue.

(Or at least, we hope they don’t. Because it’s Kind of a Big Thing these days.)

The trouble is, water pollution is astoundingly common. Our lakes, rivers and oceans are devastated by chemicals.

We’re not just talking the toxic runoffs from water treatment plants or industrial factories, either. Nutrients from fertilizers, which are seen as “good” by the agricultural sector, also wreak havoc on waterways. They’re poisoning our drinking water and even dosing our fish with antianxiety drugs.

Why? Because those fertilizers that make plants grow also make algae grow, which then uses up all the oxygen and chokes out other plant and animal life. You know all those green lakes you see when you fly over Florida? Yeah, that’s what’s going on.

The result: Bodies of water that are chemical-ridden, inhospitable to wildlife and sometimes straight-up poisonous. And that’s before stormwater rushes in, carrying toxins and disease with it.

We need to clean our water bad … but which types of green infrastructure can get the job done?

Enter the floating wetland.

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Topics: Green Infrastructure, Floating Wetlands

Cradle to Cradle as a Way of Life: An Interview with Jack Pizzo

Posted by Ecogardens


If you’ve long believed that you must choose between a garden that looks like a magazine spread and one that helps the Earth, think again: Jack Pizzo is here to set you straight.

(Download a free PDF of this interview to take with you, and share it with family and friends!)

With the global climate crisis in full swing and environmental panic mounting, more people than ever are asking: “What can we do?”

When they’re told to change their gardens, plant more natives and keep a weather eye on their pollinator populations, however, many folks become a bit wary. They like their gardens how they are, thankyouverymuch.

That’s where The Pizzo Group comes in, self-described as “a family of four companies that restores ecosystems and provides sustainable landscape solutions that are both beautiful and functional.”

Jack Pizzo, president and senior ecologist of all four companies, as well as the past president of the Illinois Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, is happy to report that interest in natural landscapes is rising, from residential backyards to large swaths of public land.

Increasingly, individuals, organizations and municipalities are reaching out to design landscapes that, as Pizzo says, look “like Martha Stewart’s perennial garden except that it’s native plants. People are beginning to see nature as an asset and not a liability.”

A development of which, it goes without saying, we are huge fans.

That’s not to say we’ve fixed every problem in the landscape industry or that we’re perfect stewards, however. Far from it. Recently we were lucky enough to sit down with Jack and have a heart to heart on these issues.

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Topics: Stewardship