January 17, 2014 Governor Brown proclaimed a Drought State of Emergency, calling on all municipalities to cut their water use by 20%. As a result, PRNS (Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services) implemented several water conservation efforts last summer:

1. Reduced potable turf irrigation by 20% in park interiors and by 50% in all perimeter areas adjacent to streets.
2. New planting projects were deferred.
3. Leaks in irrigation systems not easily remedied caused the entire site to be shut off until repairs can be made.

Most importantly, the City Council approved the PRNS plan to develop and implement a turf conversion program to reduce operating and maintenance costs and reduce the City’s demand on water resources.

Martin-Fontana Parks Association learned about this program last April. Turf conversion began in several parks across the city in 2009-2010 to save money on maintenance during an era of 39% cutbacks in PRNS staff. At Kirk Park on Foxworthy, for example, 11,000 sq ft of turf was removed and replaced with drought tolerant trees and mulch.

In late summer of 2014, the City Council adopted a PRNS resolution to address three years of drought with a program of city-wide turf removal/conversion to begin in 2015. The MFPA Board determined it was in the best interest of our parks to discuss this with PRNS, and participate in determining which locations were to be chosen for reduction and how the locations could be landscaped with drip irrigation and planted with drought tolerant plants to maintain an aesthetically agreeable alternative to turf.

MFPA’s turf committee and the Board selected four locations and proposed landscaping plans for each. The proposals were submitted to PRNS in December. January 5th we learned the plans were accepted and work was scheduled to begin in mid January.

Last spring, PRNS attended an MFPA Board meeting to discuss this process and stated PRNS and MFPA would introduce the plans to our park community before work would be initiated. The communication between our parties had broken down so we enlisted the help of our Council Office and PRNS to have the project stopped until the community was notified. The issue of non-communication still remains, and MFPA will be working to resolve the issue for future projects.

In the meantime, turf removal/conversion is slated for about 30 parks including ours. We will be the first in the city-wide effort to have a drip irrigation system installed by PRNS to allow landscaping with drought tolerant plants of our design. Because we are using free bare-root drought tolerant carpet roses in the design, work will begin soon to get them planted during their planting season.

 Turf Conversion Plans


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