Agave Park Planting Project
Ensuring green space for generations to come.
Reforesting Austin’s Agave Neighborhood Park
Through a concerted effort between TreeFolks, the City of Austin’s Watershed Protection Department, and the Agave Neighborhood, young trees will be planted across a total of 13.41 acres along the creek. This community planting project grow into a beautiful forest for the enjoyment of many generations, providing green space, wildlife habitat, and will help to mitigate the effects of climate change.
Stemming from TreeFolks’ Central Texas Floodplain Reforestation Program (CTFRP), this neighborhood park reforestation project will contribute to Austin’s urban tree canopy. Streamside or “Riparian” forests improve water quality, provide diverse wildlife habitat and contribute to our overall well-being. TreeFolks’ Reforestation Program reforests degraded creeks, streams and rivers across a 7 county region, to improve the health of our water, provide regional cooling and remove carbon, CO2, pollutants from the atmosphere. Trees planted through this program are protected for 26 years while generating Carbon+ Credits. Carbon+ Credits are purchased by the City of Austin to offset local emissions and help reach carbon neutrality goals. Revenue from carbon credit sales is then used to plant more trees!
With proper land management, precipitation can be captured and stored underground throughout a watershed and can help retain soil moisture. When rainwater has the opportunity to soak into the landscape, vegetation thrives, streams stay full longer, and water is filtered before reaching streams. Native, undisturbed vegetation slows down and filters rainwater, reducing streambank erosion and catching sediment and pollutants before reaching waterways. In contrast, sparse or mowed vegetation and impervious ground cover quickly sheds rain as runoff, which causes scouring along stream banks and allows more pollutants to enter waterways. Flooding is often the outcome when an area has inadequate tree and vegetation coverage, and the water runoff carries both pollutants and needed water away from the soil and into the water. With adequate coverage, however, a combination of thick, thin, deep, and shallow roots can grow together and create an interlocking net of roots to hold soil (and trees!) in place.
Streambanks are a hotspot for a variety of plant life, creating habitat for animals both on land and in the water.
Uplands also have a major impact on flooding and water quality! Even if you don’t live in a floodplain, your property still greatly affects watershed functions. By slowing down rain water as it moves across landscapes toward streams, upland vegetation not only helps reduce pollutants entering streams, but it can also reduce flooding and erosion. It does this the same way riparian vegetation does: by slowing the flow of water and allowing it to infiltrate the soil as well as be taken up by plants. Compare this to a more impervious structure such as bare, compacted soil or a concrete parking lot. In these types of landscapes, the majority of rainwater runs off quickly, overwhelming streams with unfiltered runoff. Uplands help to ensure our trees are getting the water they need, and in turn, they protect the landscape from erosion, flooding, and other issues caused by degraded riparian zones.
Establishing a forest requires many years of patience and can appear a bit ‘messy’ to those who are accustomed to a manicured landscape. Growing vegetation such as native deep rooted grasses and wildflowers is the first step in establishing a forest and allows natural processes to occur. This vegetation creates a nursery for the young planted trees, offering protection and giving them a higher chance of survival. Eventually, trees will outgrow the nursery and shade out most of the grasses below. Riparian vegetation helps trap sediment and seeds from nearby and upstream trees and grasses, while also building more stable soil, and correcting erosion issues throughout the process.
Ways to Get Involved:
Through TreeFolks’ NeighborWoods program in partnership with the City of Austin, all Austin residents can apply to get free trees! The NeighborWoods program provides free trees to Austin residents through free tree giveaway events and tree deliveries to your doorstep! You will get to choose from a variety of native species and some fruit trees. You can find all the details and register here.
Ready, Set, Plant is a riparian sapling program that takes place from November to February. Each year, this program plants 10,000 saplings with the help of volunteers and tree lovers across Austin! You can learn more about RSP! and how to get involved here.