Sun Valley Watershed
TreePeople is working in partnership with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, the City of Los Angeles and other local stakeholders to create a large-scale sustainable watershed management demonstration project in a 2,700-acre San Fernando Valley watershed.
The underserved Sun Valley community located in L.A.'s San Fernando Valley has long suffered serious flooding problems. This is due, in part, to the hard pavement that covers much of the community. Instead of soaking into the ground or being captured for reuse, rainwater becomes polluted runoff with nowhere to go.
A plan for sustainability
In the late 1990s, at TreePeople's urging, the L.A. County Department of Public Works diverted funds from a proposed $42-million storm drain and allocated the money instead to retrofitting the watershed in accordance with the principles of sustainable watershed management.
The Sun Valley Watershed Stakeholders Group formed late in 1998 to examine the chronic flooding and devise sustainable solutions. Its mission is "to solve the local flooding problem while retaining all stormwater runoff from the watershed, increasing water conservation, recreational opportunities, and wildlife habitat, and reducing stormwater pollution."
The stakeholders group gives government agencies, civic groups, nonprofit organizations, private enterprises and residents the opportunity to work together to solve related problems previously tackled independently.
In collaboration with TreePeople, the group developed a Sun Valley Watershed Management Plan and Program Environmental Impact Report (PEIR). The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors adopted the plan and certified the report in 2004.
The Sun Valley Park Multiuse Project was completed in 2006 as part of the Sun Valley Watershed Management Plan.
New sustainable features enable the park to treat stormwater and redirect it to two large infiltration basins, where the water is naturally filtered, before ultimately recharging the aquifer. Covered with playing fields, the two basins do their work silently, out of sight, while soccer and softball players are busy on the fields above. Recreational enhancements and educational signage were other important features of the multiuse project.
The Tuxford Green Multiuse Project was completed in 2007 as the second phase of the overall Sun Valley Watershed Management Project.
The intersection of San Fernando Road and Tuxford Street was a serious problem spot during heavy rains in the Sun Valley Watershed. Chronic flooding in this heavily traveled part of Sun Valley often rendered roads impassible during the rainy season.
The project redesigned the intersection with a flood control system that conveys most stormwater under, instead of into, the busy intersection. Some of the water is stored in a 45,000-gallon cistern to be used for irrigating the landscaping at the new pocket park, which is planted with native and drought-tolerant species.
New Green Street a Model of Environmental Healing
- The Council for Watershed Health, which managed the transformation of Elmer Avenue and encouraged an innovative partnership between non-governmental organizations and public agencies.
- The City of Los Angeles, which constructed the major components of the street and parkway.
- U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
- California Department of Water Resources
- County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works
- Metropolitan Water District of California
- Water Replenishment District of Southern California
- LA Department of Water and Power
- City of Santa Monica.
Visit sunvalleywatershed.org for more information about the Sun Valley Watershed Project. However, please note that the website has not been updated for some time. There is no information about current activities or upcoming projects.