The Sun Valley Watershed Multi-Benefit Project, in Los Angeles, a first-of-its-kind venture geared to managing storm water for the Sun Valley Watershed, has earned the Envision Platinum Award, the highest level attainable in the Envision infrastructure rating system. The project provides flood protection, improved watershed health, increased open space and recreational opportunities, and increased wildlife habitat.
Envision™ is the product of a joint collaboration between the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI), which was founded by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), and the American Public Works Association (APWA), and the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure at Harvard University Graduate School of Design.
“The Sun Valley project received the ISI Envision Platinum award because of its high levels of restorative qualities applied in a previously underdeveloped area,” said ISI President and CEO, William Bertera. “Sun Valley’s high rating also reflects remarkable innovation – not only does the project mitigate flooding in an area that has historically had issues with severe floods, but it also retains storm water in a manner that fulfills local water needs and reduces storm water pollution all at the same time.”
The project received 67% of the applicable Envision credits, the most any project has received to date. The highest-rated project categories that Sun Valley scored included:
- Quality of Life (QL): The project included the transformation of an inert landfill to a flood control detention basin, wetland, and park. The project eliminates local street flooding during moderate storm events, which enhances public safety and health.
- Leadership (LD): The County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works, as the managing agency, provided leadership and coordination in developing the Sun Valley Watershed Management Plan. The project components were developed and designed based on key stakeholder involvement. In some instances, the community had direct input in the project design such as choosing the recreational amenities in the public park. Los Angeles County performed extensive outreach, purchasing a landfill site, incorporating sustainable design, and improving community living.
- Natural World (NW): The construction of detention basins and wetlands will store and treat stormwater from the affected watershed prior to ground infiltration for recharge of local aquifers. The project also restores native habitat to the project site with native landscaping, and incorporates wetlands, infiltration trenches and basins, bioswales, and treatment trains to reduce pollutant load concentrations prior to ground infiltration. Best management practices are stipulated and implemented during construction to prevent surface runoff from the site. A detailed hazardous material removal plan was developed to contain, handle, and remove contaminated material safely from the project site.
Credits earned in the Resource Allocation and Climate and Risk categories also helped the project win with the Envision Platinum award.