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Waterwise Projects


Protecting water, creating habitat, and a great trail experience

When people work together great things happen

Gardens give beauty and, if they are carefully designed, they can absorb excess runoff, filter pollutants and create habitat for birds and insects--as well as providing an interesting and compelling landscape. The FireWorks Restaurant bioswale in southeast Lincoln captures stormwater from adjacent parking lots and buildings. It has completely changed the experience of this part of Antelope Bike Trail, acting as a catalyst for continued greenspace improvements along the trail. It was partially administered by the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum and funded by the Nebraska Environmental Trust.

Fireworks Bioswale

The public enjoys a tour of the Fireworks bioswale during the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum's 2016 Gardens in July event.

Who was Involved

Planting Design: Nebraska Statewide Arboretum; Plant Installation: Volunteers and Campbells Nursery; Partners: City of Lincoln Watershed Management, Nebraska Statewide Arboretum, inc., Nebraska Environmental Trust and Telesis, inc


Design Notes

  • Total size is 11,500 square feet. Roughly 8,000 square feet, plus 3,500 square feet of shrub/tree beds.
  • The original soil was primarily excavated clay and silty clay-loam leftover from construction of the adjacent parking lots and trail. A layer of compost was added over the top at planting time, but the existing soil was used and the plants do the hard work of “improving” the soil.
  • Purpose was to slow water and allow it to soak into the soil.
  • Planting deep rooted plants will allow for increased the amount of water the soil could absorb over time.
  • Site was tilled and covered with straw and single weave erosion control mat.

Costs & Timeline

  • 2008 & 2009 Project Planning
  • 2009 Phase 1 implemented. $27,000 (includes site preparation, plant costs, labor and value of volunteer labor). Planted 3,200 72” plugs, 29 trees and 42 shrubs.
  • 2010 Phase 2 Tree planting (21 trees) and plant replacement.$6,000.
  • 2013 Final curb cut was installed to carry water from parking lot.
  • 2011 Phase 3 Garden extension and minor garden repair due to adjacent construction damage $5,550