Foto: Vojta Herout, www.vojtaherout.com
Škrlovec Environmental Park
At the beginning of 2019, there were only unmaintained bushes hiding a landfill on the edge of the Olšava housing estate in Uherský Brod. Today, however, the place looks completely different. It is a blossoming park with several newly planted local tree species with seasonally drying shallow pools. Together with the newly modeled terrain, they contribute to better water retention for example during torrential rains. The park connected to Mlýnský brook forms a transition between urbanized and agricultural landscape at the beginning of a cycle path. It is located next to a housing estate and local people use it for recreation. There is a special loggery for beetles as well as a place where amphibians can hatch and survive winter.
The Adaptation Journey
The positive impact
Until recently, the strip of unattractive and sometimes impenetrable greenery on the edge of the Olšava housing estate in Uherský Brod was kind of a no-man's land. The area sloping towards Mlýnský brook encouraged illegal dumping rather than pleasant walks. Right next to it was intensively farmed land and the I / 50 road leading to Slovakia. There are about 800 people living in the Olšava housing estate and the surrounding family houses. The ability of the landscape to retain water is very low here, as is the biodiversity in the area.
The town council therefore decided to revitalize the site so that it retains water better and absorbs noise and dust from the bypass. The newly transformed belt separates the intensively built-up area from the area of intensively farmed agricultural land and provides space to spend free time in the countryside. In addition, the newly planted trees and new ponds will help to better address all the negative aspects of the heat island that residents need to learn to live with.
How does it work?
In the place of previously unmaintained vegetation, the town of Uherský Brod modelled a new terrain and created 4 seasonally drying shallow pools for moisture-loving plants and animals, these pools can hold up to 500 cubic meters of water. After clearing the area of pioneer tree species, they planted 57 trees such as cherries, oaks, alders or willows, 60 shrubs and ornamental grasses and formed sand footpaths. The trees and bushes continue the line of the old, pollarded willows close to the former millstream. Of course, there is also a logger for beetles as well as a place where amphibians can hatch and survive winter - all made using old wood from the trees that used to grow there. Now you can even see frogs or dragonflies here.
The municipality also plays around with the exact timing of mowing so that the flowers in the meadows manage to spread their seeds. They plan to do mosaic mowing in the future.
The concrete bridge there was repaired and covered with wood panelling. Now it serves as a large bench for people to relax and even sunbathe. Cyclists and skaters often stop there.
The supporters had to fight hard for the Škrlovec Environmental Park. In the original urban plan, the area was intended for development, so there were votes against the park in the council. In the floodplain, however, such a development is not ideal, the subsoil would have to be put in, and therefore the development was cancelled in the end. Discussions have been going on since 2010.
The area of the new park is 0.7 hectares.
On the edge of the Olšava housing estate, there used to be overgrown trees, unmaintained grassy areas and trees that were too old. Impermeable shrubs often hid piles of dug up soil and illegal landfills. This derelict area was next to the beginning of the cycle path built in 2008.
Operation and maintenance
The area now used for retention replaced the original unkept greenery, which will not significantly increase the maintenance cost. The cost of care for the trees after planting is priced at almost 20,000 CZK (757 EUR).
Why was the measure chosen?
The town council did not consider other options.
Obstacles and challenges
Originally, the project was meant to be funded by a grant from the Operational Program Environment. However, no offers were submitted on time during the tender for the contractor. Due to this delay, it was not possible to fund the project using the OPE grant. The town council of Uherský Brod subsequently decided to implement the project with the town’s own resources.
Operation and maintenance
The project is implemented near the housing estate and has become a nature-like place to go for the locals. They quickly found their way to the site. Part of the site was left to its own development, so that people could walk their favourite shortcuts and paths across the park. The average number of visitors per hour on weekends is around 40 and on weekdays around 33 users per hour.
Thanks to the connection of the park to the built-up area, it was also possible to get natural water into the environment of the housing estate.
How much did it cost?
The total cost of the project was 818,087 CZK. Instead of the original funding from the OPE programme, Uherský Brod finally paid for the implementation using its own funding.
The return on investment was not considered by the town council. The expected life of the measure is 50 years. Thanks to the fact that the area now retains water better, the costs of the necessary watering have decreased. However, it is more the idea that saving water is good, the money saved by this measure does not exceed a couple of thousand crowns a year.
Zieleń miejska Biodiverzita Povodně a přívalové srážky