Bioswales—a natural way of slowing, collecting, and filtering stormwater using landscape elements—is just one way Iowa is adopting green infrastructure to improve its water quality and reduce flooding. And Apex is helping them do that, one impressive project at a time. Recently, our team helped the City of West Des Moines by constructing two bioswales totaling 1,400 square feet within Fairmeadows Park, a popular recreational destination in the community. The project’s goal was to decelerate, cool, treat, and infiltrate the stormwater flow from a parking lot and a large grassy area while also safeguarding an adjacent streambank from future erosion. As the American Society of Landscape Architects cites that roughly one foot of bioswale can reduce stormwater runoff by 25%, we’ve helped our client decrease theirs exponentially. The benefits don’t stop there either. Using native grasses and flowers, the bioswales are not just aesthetically­pleasing, they are great for local pollinators, will help soak up water, and will reduce the park’s maintenance costs considerably as they require less upkeep than most conventional stormwater systems.

In addition to the bioswales, Apex also provided nearly 2­½ acres of soil quality restoration and another 575 square yards of compost grouting. By aerating the soil and spreading a ½” layer of high quality compost over the top of it, we helped the City transform their grounds into a natural sponge that will absorb the rain and create organic habitats for worms, microbes, and insects that contribute to healthy lawns. Our use of compost grouting, another newer bioengineering approach that uses plants and vegetation within the riprap (rock cover used for streambank stabilization), will further reduce and filter stormwater runoff at the park.

This successful project came in within budget and a month ahead of schedule! For their hard work and dedication, our construction crew earned high praise from both the engineer who designed the bioswales and the City of West Des Moines. We are proud to have helped yet another municipality take sustainable steps forward to managing their stormwater effectively!

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