City of Fresno starts on new drought landscaping test project downtown

The G Street project is expected to save hundreds of thousands of gallons of water and thousands of dollars.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- On the fringe of Downtown Fresno, city landscaping crews are hard at work. Grass that once surrounded the municipal services center is being torn out, while mulch and drip irrigation will soon go in.

"The drip irrigation will be far better for the trees, it's not going up in the air, it's not evaporating out, and then the bark mulch will help it retain moisture," said Fresno Public Works Director Scott Mozier.

It's the city's latest effort to do their part during the drought, from a landscaping perspective. They say they'll save hundreds of thousands of gallons of water. And despite the upfront cost of $16,000, they expect to save thousands more over time with the permanent project.

"By removing the turf, we're cutting 50 percent of our expenses," said Mozier. "We still have to pick up trash, we still have to spray remove weeds, but this whole project will have less than a two-year return on investment."

This is a test project and the city says they'll look at subdivisions with grass that is costly to maintain, but underutilized. Another, a median near the Highway 41 and Friant intersection, also has mulch and drip irrigation already in place.

The median near the Highway 41 and Shields intersection has boulders and drought tolerant plants. Mozier says those areas now use far less water, and require much less maintenance.

For the project on G Street, the city has drawn on inspiration from private properties, with the hope to become a model for the public.

"...encourage the community that you can do attractive things and save water," Mozier said.
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