Notable Project Submission: Town of Tioga 8th Ave Expansion
Retention ponds can be designed to be aesthetically pleasing, while also conserving water use and performing their engineered storm-water function.
The scope of the work for the ‘Town of Tioga’ 8th Ave Extension project entailed designing a landscape based on the Florida Friendly Landscape principles. The project also required an irrigation system based on the Florida Waterstar design criteria. This would be located along a one-mile section of a county road, bisecting the existing Town of Tioga to the north and new phases of the development to the south.
The transition between the existing traditional landscape irrigated by sprays and rotors to drip irrigation begins on the mile-long pedestrian esplanade in the Town of Tioga. One additional benefit to drip irrigation is less damage to established trees and their roots.
The objective was to transition from hundreds of acres of green spaces, street treescapes, and pedestrian landscaped esplanades with traditional irrigation sprays and rotors. The transition would ultimately achieve full compliance with the Florida Waterstar criteria, separating high volume and low volume irrigation. The goal was to reduce water consumption dramatically, while simultaneously creating an aesthetically pleasing landscape. Local irrigation regulations mandated a maximum of 60% of the landscaped areas to have high volume irrigation. After several design review changes and careful plant selections, a design with less than 6% high volume irrigation was approved and installed. Tioga has embraced the new standards in water conservation, setting the bar high with all of the new phases to the south of 8th Ave currently being designed according to the Florida Friendly and Waterstar principles.
Limiting or eliminating the high-volume irrigated turf footprint on the project, along with selecting the right plant for the right place, creates the opportunity for water conservation.
Make no mistake, this is a paradigm shift in landscape and irrigation design, and the Alachua County model is the gold standard for all others to follow. The adjustment has been difficult and expensive, yet well worth it. I can honestly say after 40 years in the business, I am now a better irrigation designer. I am focused on water conservation, and I am advocating these principles Statewide as a Past FNGLA State President, a current member of the FNGLA Landscape Irrigation Committee, and a committee member on the Florida Climate Smart Agriculture Work Group.
by Ed Bravo
Ed Bravo was born in Santiago de Cuba and immigrated to the United States one year later. His family lived in Miami until Ed was nine years old when they then moved to Gainesville. Ed earned an A.A. degree from Santa Fe Community College in 1985. His nursery and landscape career began six years earlier when he started working as a landscape laborer. Within just two years, he became the production manager at a Gainesville area nursery and was the sole proprietor of Moonlight Landscape. In 1996, Ed became the General Manager of Big Trees Nursery and in 2001, he became a partner of Big Trees Plantation in which capacity he continues. He has been a longtime board member of the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens Spring Garden Festival. Ed has served FNGLA’s Frontrunners Chapter in many roles, including president. He represented the Frontrunners Chapter on the statewide FNGLA Board of Directors from 2009 to 2013. Ed is a member of the FNGLA Endowed Research Fund Steering Committee advising the UF/IFAS Dean of Research which industry research projects are worthy of FNGLA funding.