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Raise a Glass to 1st Ocean Friendly Beer Garden

January 02 2014 | Ocean Friendly Gardens, GAP,
by Paul Herzog

The Surfrider-Coos Bay Chapter Ocean Friendly Beer Garden at the 7 Devils Brewery storefront was "brewed up" by the Chapter Chair, Carmen Matthews, and Secretary, Annie Pollard - who also happen to be married and the owners of the new microbrewery. They had been working on the microbrewery concept for 5 years.

During renovation of the building that would house the microbrewery, Carmen and building co-owner, David Ford, were struck by the idea of having an Ocean Friendly Garden (OFG) - and beer garden - to capture runoff and make the building more attractive. The OFG would be created by removing the asphalt from a few parking spaces and directing rainwater from the microbrewery's roof and patios to it; that would take the City of Coos Bay agreeing to lease the parking spaces. A competent construction firm would need to be hired. David and Molly Ford liked the idea so much that they agreed to pay for the upgrade!

The Chapter then held a couple of meetings to highlight the OFG concept, showing existing OFGs in and around the area, engaging local landscapers to co-present concepts. Sol Coast Consulting and Design, a local business and friends of Carmen, was hired to: coordinate the project, create the design and get it through the permitting process, prep the site and coordinate material ordering and delivery, then lead a community workday to help install plants and mulch. Mike Vaughn, a local landscape designer (and Coos Bay City Council member) was asked by Sol Coast to complete the design. Sol Coast contracted with Maria Cahill of Green Girl Land Development, a small outfit that focuses on low impact design (LID) for stormwater managment, for sizing, hydraulic functions and modelling consultation. Surfrider staff (Charlie Plybon) involvement was really minimal: chiefly, just trying to keep up with the work Mike and Sol Coast were doing and if they needed any support.

The Garden Assistance Party (GAP) workday focused on installing plants and spreading mulch. Sol Coast lead the Fords, Mike, and 35 volunteers through the day. In addition to Surfrider volunteers, the Coos Watershed Association brought out workers and also provided tools! The installation took 2 1/2 hours. as Sol Coast's Shannon Souza put it, "the best group of volunteers I’ve ever worked with."After the installation, everyone was rewarded with pizza and beer, complements of Sol Coast and 7 Devils Brewing Co.

The finished garden, at right, looks beautiful and will grow in soon enough!

Media coverage - click here for a comprehensive article in the "The World" newspaper. (Note: San Diego/CA-Surfrider donor, Stone Brewery, has a cool landscape of its own, certified through the Sustainable Sites organizaiton. Click here for details.)

Click here for this project's "report" on the online OFG map for the numbers on the size of the roof, amount of polluted runoff prevented, and more!

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