Rain or Shine Spotlight | Our Green Infrastructure Beginnings
As we look forward to 2020 and our Rain or Shine: Soaking Up Success Symposium, we are launching a series of blog posts, beginning with a look back at our first green infrastructure (GI) projects and their resulting benefits. Read on to learn more about our past GI work and stay tuned for future blogs where we’ll highlight our most current work!
Water Augmentation Study (WAS)
CWH forged a unique partnership among local, regional, state, and federal stakeholders and led this long-term research project to explore the potential of increasing local water supplies and reducing urban runoff pollution by increasing infiltration of stormwater. Five years of research found that these practices can be achieved without impacting groundwater quality. WAS also evaluated the benefits of enhancing environmental health, increasing green space in our neighborhoods, providing jobs, increasing our water supply reliability, and laid the foundation for future green infrastructure projects, including the Elmer Avenue Neighborhood Retrofit.
Elmer Avenue Neighborhood Retrofit
Based on the LA Basin Water Augmentation Study and supported by multiple agencies and non-profit organizations, CWH managed the retrofit of a one-block section of Elmer Avenue to capture, clean, and infiltrate runoff, improve water conservation on landscapes, increase green space, and beautify the neighborhood. Elmer Avenue was one of the first “Green Streets” in the City of Los Angeles. It manages 16 acre feet of stormwater runoff per year via subsurface infiltration galleries and features soft-bottom catch basins, bioswales, native drought-tolerant landscapes, rain barrels, smart irrigation controllers, permeable surfaces, and solar street lights.
Elmer Paseo Stormwater Improvement Project
As part of the Elmer Avenue Neighborhood Retrofit Project, Elmer Paseo is designed to manage 6 acre feet of runoff per year and features a vegetated bioswale that captures, filters and directs runoff to a subsurface infiltration trench, thereby reducing flooding. Elmer Paseo adds green space to the neighborhood and provides a safer and comfortable pedestrian connection to local goods and services. It is planted with California native trees, plants, and grasses that attract a variety of birds and beneficial insects and demonstrates that native plants add beauty to urban landscapes.
South Los Angeles Green Alley Projects
As a project team member of The Trust For Public Land’s South LA Green Alley Projects, CWH monitored the pre- and post-construction performance of the North and South Alley projects. These alleys capture, clean, and infiltrate runoff from surrounding neighborhood streets into subsurface infiltration galleries. These alleys also reduced flooding, increased the green space of the neighborhood, and brought together residents to be stewards of these projects.
Drought Outreach Response Programs for Schools (DROPS)
DROPS Statewide Technical Assistance (TA)
CWH managed the DROPS Technical Assistance through a grant by the State Water Resources Control Board. This state-wide Technical Assistance focused on developing green infrastructure projects for school districts serving underserved communities. CWH TA included site visits and technical reports, webinars, and the development of design and construction guidelines for vegetated LID BMPs for school campuses. Ten schools that received TA are funded to implement multi-benefit green infrastructure that will improve water quality of runoff, decrease runoff from campuses, reduce flooding, increase the amount of green space on campuses, and connect these projects to curricula.
Los Angeles Unified School District DROPS
LAUSD is replacing asphalt with green infrastructure projects on four of its campuses with DROPS funding. These projects feature bioswales, cisterns, permeable pavement, rain gardens, water-wise landscapes and will increase water quality, reduce flooding, increase habitat for pollinators and be used as outdoor classrooms for STEAM curricula. CWH is coordinating the education and outreach components (provided by project partners LA Audubon and TreePeople) that include student engagement, community engagement, STEAM curricula, professional development and staff technical training. CWH is also monitoring pre- and post-construction performance of stormwater Best Management Practices. The green infrastructure projects at Victory Elementary, Normandie Elementary, Webster Middle, and Northridge Middle Schools will be regional models for future green infrastructure projects on school campuses.
Looking forward to 2020, we are eager to share the lessons learned, best practices and strategies from our past work during our Rain or Shine: Soaking Up Success Symposium on the benefits of green infrastructure! Stay tuned for registration opening and speaker announcements!
In the meantime, comment below: What are your goals for the next decade of green infrastructure in our region?
Thank you to our generous Symposium partners and Sponsors!
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