The "bio-retention basin", or The Natural Area, as it's commonly known, is green infrastructure being transformed into diverse habitats for a living lab and classroom. This basin collects water runoff from half of Webster University's buildings and parking areas, thereby reducing contaminants that enter the storm-water system and improving our watershed, wildlife habitats and natural communities.
The Natural Area is also home to a rare environmental feature known as a seep, or a “fen.” In a fen, groundwater reaches the earth's surface from an underground aquifer. The volume of water is too small to create flow; however, the area remains wet even during the driest summer months. This year-round water source is an important natural feature for a broad range of native and migratory wildlife including birds, amphibians, butterflies and other insects, as well as a host of specific native plant species ranging from aquatics to trees.
Webster University students created a timeline, conceptual plan and budget to turn the area into a haven for research, recreation and reflection for students, faculty, staff, administration and the Webster Groves community. This drawing indicates how the team sees the Natural Area in its completed form. Plans are underway to complete the project as shown with assistance from present and future partners.
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