Frank W. Kari Walkway and ponds restoration

The UI Arboretum received a generous gift from Kari Family to honor the memory of Dr. Frank W. Kari. The Arboretum has determined to invest the gift in a walkway from Japan House, around the ponds and connect back into the walkway that leads from the Arboretum parking lot to Japan House (see attached plan). The gift will also provide for native plantings around the ponds and an endowment for the management and maintenance of the plants and ponds. There is no other location on the UI campus with such a native plant display.

See Development of the Frank W Kari Walkway and Ponds Restoration

Investment of this gift in the walkway is in keeping with the mission of the Arboretum, which is to discover, interpret, and disseminate knowledge in the plant sciences and applied arts by providing an aesthetically enriched setting for education, research, conservation, and enjoyment. The Arboretum is envisioned as a living laboratory, including plant collections and facilities that supported the teaching, research, and public service programs of several units throughout the University. The Dr. Frank A. Kari Walkway and Pond Restoration will be a wonderful addition to the native plant collection of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The ponds were a gift from the Illinois Land Improvement Contractors Association and have been in place since 1994. Over the years, the ponds have not been maintained and have experienced significant decline. Major repair needs involve invasive species removal, bank and water level stabilization, addition of a walking path and placement of native plants along the bank.

Arboretum staff began planning a number of possible projects designed to restore the ponds. In 2007, immediate action was taken to reduce the weeds and invasive species; in 2008, Dr. Anton Endress, UIUC NRES 420 instructor, was asked to utilize the ponds as a class project; and multiple ideas were evaluated to reduce water level fluctuation within the ponds.

A student working group from Dr. Endress’ NRES 420 class spent the spring semester providing a site evaluation, developing conceptual plans, and proposing a restoration plan. The team produced an excellent product that was used as a foundation for a detailed design and planting plan.
As a result of the class project, a detailed conceptual plan was developed and approved by the Arboretum Advisory Board. The plan includes a walking path from the east of Japan House around the large pond and circling back to the walkway leading to Japan House, reconfiguration the pond banks and installation native plantings.

In addition to the walkway and native plantings around the ponds, water fluctuation of the ponds will also be addressed. In 2009 and 2010, test wells were drilled to determine availability of groundwater.  A sufficient source of groundwater was located through the use of two wells. The groundwater will be pumped into the ponds to maintain a constant water level.

Groundbreaking for the walkway will begin in the summer of 2011.

Stay posted for images of the pond restoration as it is being developed!