What is a meadow?
A meadow is an open vegetated area of grasses and wildflowers without trees. Meadows are important ecosystems that provide a variety of benefits.
Do meadows help manage stormwater?
Yes! Wildflower meadows manage and filter stormwater, promote groundwater infiltration, and even prevent flooding. Meadows are one of many features promoted in Philadelphia’s Green City, Clean Waters plan. You can read more about meadows and other stormwater management features on the Philadelphia Water Department’s website.
Do meadows offer other benefits?
Meadows are aesthetically pleasing, especially during summer and early fall when wildflowers are blooming. Meadows also provide homes for plants and animals, increasing the diversity of species living in an area and helping threatened bird species. Other animals found in meadows include species of mammals, turtles, moths, and butterflies. Allowing sections of large grassy areas to grow into meadows can also save property owners time and money.
Why does TTF care about meadows?
TTF supports projects and activities that promote clean water, manage stormwater and increase community understanding of watershed issues. Recently, TTF staff attended a “Mowing to Meadows” workshop hosted by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council at Montgomery County Community College. Presenters from the Natural Lands Trust, Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust, and Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association shared their first-hand experience, discussing benefits and ways to establish and manage meadows.
Where can I visit a meadow?
There are lots of meadows in the Philadelphia area in addition to those managed by the organizations listed above. For example, High School Park in Cheltenham has a thriving meadow of black-eyed susans, butterfly weed, and native grasses.
In Philadelphia, Parks & Recreation (PPR) created these meadows adjacent to Philadelphia’s Tacony Creek Park:
- Along Olney Avenue, north of Tabor Road (1.5 acres)
- Along Bingham Street, south of Roosevelt Boulevard (6 acres)
- On the hill above Fisher Lane (6 acres)
The meadow along Bingham Street was a mowed lawn until it was created by PPR to help capture and infiltrate stormwater before it flowed down the adjacent steep forested slope and caused slope erosion.
If you visit one of these meadows, please send us a photo! Thinking of planting a meadow on your property? Let us know and we’ll feature your meadow in The Source, our monthly newsletter.