WESTFIELD - Westfield Washington Township has planted 5,000 trees at MacGregor Park, as a part of a 15-acre wetland mitigation project.

The Township partnered with a local developer, who needed to clear the trees to make room for a development project in Indianapolis within the White River Watershed.

"Our MacGregor Park is an ideal place for this mitigation project because of the poorly-drained soil conditions resulting from the former agricultural fields," said Westfield Washington Township Trustee Danielle Carey Tolan. "This is a huge benefit for our community and will tremendously enhance the already beautiful MacGregor Park."

The benefits to MacGregor Park are many as the park gets thousands of high-quality large trees installed on the former agricultural areas at no cost to the park. Additionally, the trees will mature and provide numerous benefits, including water quality enhancements, flood control, groundwater discharge, wildlife habitat, erosion control, aesthetics and environmental education opportunities.

Tolas said MacGregor Park was selected because it contained the right soil types, had open fields that were no longer farmed and was within the watershed. Also the park had open areas to be reforested, but did not have the resources to undertake at the time.

"With this project, we were able to get 15 acres replanted with high-quality, containerized native trees and shrubs, that might otherwise not have been accomplished. Because the tree planting is regulated by a permit, it will be protected in perpetuity," Tolan said.

Wetland mitigations exist due to regulations set forth in the Clean Water Act. Wetlands are protected resources and a permit is needed when an entity wishes to impact one. Part of that permitting process includes replanting the wetland at another location to mitigate for the losses to water quality, wildlife and other resources.