We have had a busy year! Many folks are wondering what is happening here at our new Watershed Learning Center in downtown Cave Springs, Ark. In 2013, The Illinois River Watershed Partnership received a generous grant from the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission to install Low Impact Development infrastructure elements including: a rain garden, vegetated wall, green roof, porous paving, constructed wetland and a phosphorus removal structure. (Read more about these elements at the end of this post). We have been working diligently to complete these projects for not only demonstration to groups that visit and the public, but also to add greenspace that will manage rainfall and provide benefits that improve water quality.


Recently, a major renovation occurred to remove the parking lot and replace the grey infrastructure with greenspace, or Low Impact Development. 


A rain garden was installed as part of IRWP’s Low Impact Development transformation.

A rain garden, which is a shallow depression in the landscape that captures and filters rain and runoff, was placed in front of the Watershed Learning Center. It features over twelve native plant species to Arkansas and is able to capture and filter runoff from the highway.

IMG952015080395120531088Porous pavers allow water to soak through large cavities in the surface, with rain harvesting below the surface. 

Also installed are porous pavers, which are a water-wise alternative to impervious surfaces, such as concrete or asphalt. This approach reduces stormwater runoff volumes and minimizes the pollutants introduced into stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces. This system uses Aqua-Bric, also referred to as Permeable Interlocking Concrete Pavement technology, for maximum infiltration and nutrient removal.


Twelve parking spaces feature the LID porous paving on the upper west side of the Watershed Learning Center.

Stay tuned for further updates on our Low Impact Development transformation! Or better yet, stop by for a visit, group scheduling available now. Low Impact Development is a smart way to build, retrofit, improve water quality and protect our watershed!

 Additional Resources

Green Infrastructure & LID: Growing Up! Vegetated Walls

Green Infrastructure & LID: Green Roofs

Green Infrastructure & LID Series: Permeable Paving

Watershed Landscape: Rain Garden Design – Part I

Green Infrastructure & Low Impact Development: Phosphorous Removal Structures