The colorful whale mural in the foreground is a related effort that reminds us of the watery connections between land and sea.
Before we started, the site looked like this. There was a small patch of lawn that partially functioned as a swale. Beyond the edge of the photo, water flowed over the edge of a bluff and down to a small creek that enters the ocean. There was an existing erosion problem where the water flowed over the bluff.
In September 2009, the site was carefully excavated and an outlet was engineered to better convey water over the bluff's edge. In October 2009, just before the rains arrived, we gathered a great team of local volunteers to help plant all the plants. Liza Ehle of By the Sea Gardens helped to lay out plants in the proper locations. In a great flurry of fun, the bioswale garden came to be.
With the first rains, we watched the swale fill with water. When it soaked in, we could see the sheen of oil in the bottom. When the first big storm came in November, we were concerned that new plants might get washed away. But our bioswale garden came through with flying colors--already doing its job of slowing and holding water.