Turkey Creek EcoScape Birmingham-Southern College’s showcase for green landscape practices was completed in 2008. The landscape plan was designed to protect the creek from erosion and correct years of illegal dumping at the Falls beach. When the property was donated to Forever Wild, the asphalt edge of the road was so exposed that any vehicle driving over it ran the danger of losing its better half. The land was purchased to protect the only known habitat of the Vermillion Darter, a small fish found only in Turkey Creek.
The restoration of the falls area included major earth work to place proper protective drainage system under the new EcoScape garden and steps to the falls. Imagine installing a huge french drain system, hidden underneath a native plant garden. Rainfall runoff from the road and new parking lot now gathers in a shallow gravel bio-swale to slowly filter into the earth – trap and treat. Earthen berms direct the stormwater into the swale system. The new parking lot made of porous gravel replaced the rutted mud puddle next to the creek.
Large boulders were added by Jefferson County workers to keep off-road traffic out of the new bioswale. Brick set on a gravel base was used to create an entry into the bioswale. Gravel under the brick allows water to passively water the landscaping and allow foot traffic. Native wildlife friendly plants including serviceberries, coreopsis, bluestem grasses, yellow jasmine, goldenrod and liatris grow well in the new berms and help soak up water while adding their unique character to the landscape. The final EcoScape blends the natural and manmade. – Arnie Rutkis
Turkey Creek Nature Preserve was made possible by the Freshwater Land Trust and Alabama’s Forever Wild Program.
Watershed: Turkey Creek
Art: Colorful painted signs in the EocScape were painted by Gabreila Pomplova. The Fish Monolith was made by Donald Hulsey.
Directions: The EcoScape is at the entrance to the swimming area in the preserve on Turkey Creek Road. There is parking across the street.
Funding: Freshwater Land Trust, NFWF Five Star Grant
Red Rock Ridge and Valley Trail Link: Turkey Creek Corridor, Turkey Creek Nature Preserve Trail