The Buzz: Drought hits Capitol Park

05/09/2014 6:15 PM

05/09/2014 10:40 PM

Following drought policy,

Capitol Park grass is brown

The lush grass that normally carpets downtown Sacramento’s Capitol Park is turning into a blotchy green-and-brown rug this spring because state officials have decided not to water the lawn.

“What we’re trying to do is set an example in our front yard for people to follow in their front yards,” said Brian Ferguson, spokesman for the Department of General Services. The department handles grounds maintenance for the park and other state-owned properties.

Parts of the lawn will continue to grow because crews will still water nearly 1,000 trees on the grounds via a complex underground irrigation system that hydrates roots and minimizes runoff.

Many of the trees date back to the earliest days of California’s statehood and carry historical significance, said Les Strike, a General Services manager who oversees maintenance of the 40-acre park.

“We can replace the grass,” he said. “The trees can’t be replaced,”

The drought prompted Gov. Jerry Brown to order conservation measures throughout state government, but he doesn’t solely control park maintenance. The Legislature also must sign off on the policy.

– Jon Ortiz

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