Stormwater Project Improves Cattail Corner
The City’s Public Works & Mobility Department will begin work Monday, July 17, to make several improvements to Cattail Corner, which is the area at the northeast corner of the Russell Street and SW Higgins Avenue intersection. The pond and wetlands at Cattail Corner are critical elements of the South Hills stormwater infrastructure. This project will ensure the area functions as it should as flood control and green infrastructure. All work will be done on site, so any traffic delays will be minimal and as needed to accommodate equipment entering and exiting the area.
Those passing by the area over the next several months will see large equipment removing sediment and other debris that has collected and filled in the pond and wetlands, causing it not to function as it should. Stormwater from the South Hills area makes its way down the hill and a portion of it drains into Cattail Corner. The pond and wetlands serve as a stormwater filtration facility, allowing the sediment that is picked up by the stormwater to settle out into the pond. The vegetation in the wetlands also helps to treat the stormwater. Stormwater picks up fertilizer, oil, pesticides, dirt, bacteria, and other pollutants as it makes its way through storm drains. The vegetation at Cattail Corner helps by absorbing nutrients in the stormwater, such as phosphorus and nitrogen, as well as mitigating other common pollutants. It’s important to have these nutrients and pollutants removed from the stormwater before it makes its way to the Bitterroot River because they are detrimental to the health of the river. Pollution and decreased water quality can affect fish by impacting habitat and food sources, which in turn impacts their growth potential and reproductive abilities.
Other elements of this project include installation of infrastructure that will improve access to the area when maintenance is required in the future. Additional dry wells will also be constructed on the site to allow for some of the collected stormwater to infiltrate into the ground.
Due to the large quantity of material that needs to be removed, this portion of the project is expected to be completed around the end of October, weather permitting. Afterward, depending on weather conditions and air temperature, new, more diverse native vegetation species will be planted. The new plant types will better utilize nutrients than cattails can by themselves. Otherwise, the planting will take place in the spring.
The Cattail Corner project is part of the larger South Hills Stormwater Improvements Project, which received $2 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grant funding for the entire project. For more information on the Cattail Corner work as well as all portions of the South Hills Stormwater Improvements Project, visit http://www.ci.missoula.mt.us/2673/Stormwater-Projects under South Hills Stormwater Improvements.