The Zoo's new Constructed Wetland is an exhibit designed to help educate visitors about the importance of wetlands to the environment and to serve as a filter system for rainwater runoff from the Zoo's North America parking lot.
One of the objectives in the Zoo’s Environmental Management System is the reduction of surface water contamination from runoff. As a partner in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Environmental Stewardship Initiative, the Zoo received a $5,000 grant in November 2004 to design the Constructed Wetland.
Planning for the $1 million, 1.5-acre project included testing for runoff contaminants and the actual design of the constructed wetland, including selection of plants, educational features explaining wetland benefits, a picnic deck and tying the wetland to a nearby picnic area and trails. Students attending the Asheboro High Zoo School assisted with the plant list, plant cost estimates and will assist in performing continued water monitoring requirements for the project, which is located adjacent to the Zoo's North America lake.
The Zoo Society matched the $5,000 and plans to seek sponsorship for the associated picnic deck. The NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT) conducted the feasibility study which was completed in August 2005 by Kimley-Horn Associates.
Information from the Study was used to apply for Clean Water Management Trust Fund (CWMTF) monies in December 2005. The application was approved for $406,000 in July 2006. NCDOT agreed to provide the design funds and contracted with KHA to produce the construction documents. The project went to bid April 2008. Since construction costs had increased, the Zoo applied for and received an additional $217,000 in CWMTF. Construction was completed in May 2009 and the Zoo's Horticulture staff finished the landscaping in June 2009.