The primary aspect of the Lake Restoration Project is landscaping the shoreline in a way that controls runoff, absorbs nutrients before they can enter the lake, discourages waterfowl, and increases the beauty and biodiversity of the area. Furman University hired the services of EarthDesign Environmental Arts & Landscape Design to create and implement a master plan for the lake. To this point, EarthDesign has implemented and completed "Phase I" along the north shore of the lake: from the front of the Shi Center for Sustainability at Cliffs Cottage, past the Amphitheatre, to the burm at the inlet of the feeder creek.
There are several important features of the new landscaping. Directly down from the Shi Center, the shoreline had eroded badly, requiring a complete reconstruction of the bank. A series of tiers was used to create a stable bank, and boulders were used to anchor the bank and add a visual feature. The front was planted in rushes, and a series of biologs were placed to help maintain the new bank.
Another major element was the large rain garden just down the trail. Uphill from the lake, the bank was contoured to funnel runoff from the landscape to a small rain garden to the right of the trail. Water seeps through a pipe beneath the walkway to the rain garden on the lake shore. Rain gardens are deep depressions filled with layers of sand and gravel. Plants tolerant of drought and flooding are used to filter the water contained in the garden. After a storm event, water is held in the garden and percolates more slowly and naturally into the lake.
Runoff and erosion are also addressed by planting native wildflower meadows on the shore. They intercept and absorb more surface runoff than turfgrass, and also add more color, structure, and diversity. Bank erosion can be slowed and reversed with the use of biologs. These are rolled mats that are staked offshore. As waves move over them, sediment is deposited behind the log, regrowing the shoreline from the bank. During this process, this shallow area is home to a group of semi-aquatic plants like rushes and cattails that absorb and store large amounts of nutrient runoff.
In spring 2010, Ecology students meansured the concentration of vairous ions entering and leaving threee rain gardens to determine whether the rain gardens were filtering ions effectively. A link to a summary of their study appears, below:
The Effect of Bioretention Areas on the Heavy Ion Concentration, pH, and Water Quality of the Furman University Lake
Adam Williams, Ashley Brown, Mike Brown, and Matthew Stutz