Waterwise: More Than a Pretty Parking Lot

Parking Lots 8 & 16 in Downtown Scottsbluff Photo: L. Sato

Scottsbluff’s downtown parking lots provide more than just parking and pretty greenspace.

The gardens are designed to help curb pollution from snow and rain runoff through infiltration and phytoremediation (the use of plants to fight pollutants), make snow removal more efficient in the winter, reduce reflective heat in the summer, provide pollinator habitat, help recharge groundwater reserves, and feature regionally native plants and trees for the Nebraska Panhandle.

Waterwise Wednesday: Urban Heat Island

Ever notice how downtown is warmer than a park on hot summer day? That’s the heat island effect. Heat reflects off of concrete, buildings, pavement, and streets causing the immediate air temperature to rise as much as ten degrees.

Trees, shrubs, vines, grasses, and ground cover plants shade surfaces and evapotranspire (water emitted from leaves is evaporated). These processes cool the surrounding air. Hence, the cooling effect of a park or greenspace.

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