The renovation of Gateway Arch National Park and its surrounding areas brought more than just a beautiful new museum under St. Louis’ most famous monument. It also introduced new ways to increase sustainability and collaboration among the park’s partners. 

Recently, Great Rivers Greenway, the National Park Service, Gateway Arch Park Foundation, and City of St. Louis Parks collaborated with Anheuser-Busch to create a liquid designed specifically to support the soil and plants across the park. The initiative was kickstarted by a generous donation of spent grain from the brewery.

The liquid, known as Liquid Biological Amendments (LBAs), is made by coaxing the beneficial microbes from compost by steeping it in a tank of aerated water, like making tea. This results in a biologically diverse liquid that is sprayed on the grass, trees, and plant beds. The LBAs provide all nutrients the plants need to stay healthy and resilient.

“LBAs is like a fertilizer,” said Sarah Olmstead, operations supervisor for Great Rivers Greenway. “Plant health and soil health is better. We don’t have as many insects and diseases, since it acts as a natural herbicide and pesticide.”

Over the last several months, crews have been applying the LBAs to the plants and more than 4,200 trees on the 91-acre Gateway Arch National Park grounds, as well as at Keiner Plaza.

“It’s more sustainable and really helps build the soil better than anything synthetic,” said Olmstead. “LBAs create the soil dynamic that you really want for great plant health. We’ve really seen a difference using it.”

Author: Brad Kovach is the editor/publisher of Terrain Magazine.