South Bay Region Urban Trails Network
The 2011 Cal Poly Pomona 606 Graduate Studio "Re-Envisioning Open Space" report essentially represents a Vision Plan for open space in the South Bay. Per this report, "The highly developed urban character and conditions of the region made it necessary to explore a full range of options...traditional and nontraditional methods are explored for satisfying the need for open space, native landscape/ecosystem function, and connectivity...Field study and analysis revealed a number of specific underutilized land uses in the region that can be optimized through creative landscape interventions".
Connectivity is key!
The following maps from the Cal Poly Pomona report illustrate some of the South Bay open space opportunities.
The 2011 Cal Poly Pomona 606 Graduate Studio "Re-envisioning Open Space" report reviewed and analyzed:
- Community inputs
- The South Bay topography, geology, hydrology and climate
- Historic South Bay ecosystems
- Domestic and international urban design precedents
to develop "The Regional Network" that serves as the South Bay Open Space Vision. The incorporation of the "Regional Network" would enhance community links and ecosystems thus enhancing "the overall quality of life and vitality of the South Bay".
Large Regional Parks Opportunities
for the south bay
The 2011 Cal Poly Pomona 606 Graduate Studio "Re-envisioning Open Space" report notes "There is a need for large parks and open space in order to give balance and respite within the highly urbanized setting."
To develop the Large Park Regional Plan, opportunities and constraints were analyzed. The following map represents the 606 Graduate Studio recommendation.
small regional parks opportunities
for the south bay
The Cal Poly Pomona 606 Graduate Studio analysis revealed many small park opportunities in the South Bay by re-envisioning:
- Vacant Lots
- Mixed residential landscapes
- Commercial spaces
After weighing constraints against opportunities, the following depicts the 606 Graduate Studio Small Park Regional Plan recommendation. The accessibility of the small parks make this an important aspect of South Bay Open Space.
NAtive Landscapes and ecosystems
opportunities for the south bay
power corridor trails to
connect open spaces in the south bay
The power corridors are underutilized. "Southern California Edison (SCE), the local power corridor owner and operator, has an opportunity to continue to receive revenue from existing leases, but also act as a 'good neighbor'..."
Opportunities abound to enhance the power corridors to improve recreational usage, habitat diversity, runoff water quality, community cohesiveness and increase property values.
Cal Poly Pomona's 606 Graduate Studio
Redondo Waterfront Park
Excerpts from "Re-envisioning Open Space" by Cal Poly Pomona's 606 Graduate Studio:
The "Active Social Approach": "Many studies have shown the health benefits of providing open recreational space. By creating this large park, sixty-five additional acres of open space can be added towards the city's parks provision goal."
The "Integrated Approach" provides "traditional park amenities and native ecosystems that promote sustainability, education and local identity...the park incorporates the potential for commercial and economic growth".
Water: Challenges & Opportunities
As the Cal Poly Pomona 606 Graduate Studio's "Re-envisioning Open Space" report notes: "Historically, the study area (South Bay) was largely characterized by dune and coastal prairie ecosystems with very few creeks and other waterways (Mattoni 1992). Today, the region is made up of an extensive stormwater system that essentially operates without consideration for natural hydrologic function."
Traditional stormwater management focused on flood control and property protection, so creeks were straightened and lined with concrete. As urbanization increased, less permeable land is available and stormwater runoff volumes increased with the Santa Monica Bay as the key repository for the runoff stormwater in the South Bay. As fresh water becomes increasingly valuable, newer cost-effective approaches need to be considered for future sustainability in the South Bay.
The water issues also present opportunities to create open space, creatively reuse existing land usage, improve groundwater infiltration and quality. The stormwater system is an extensive network within the South Bay. The following are just two examples presented in the "Re-envisioning Open Space" report.
- The Dominguez Channel naturalization: Along Artesia Blvd in Gardena, the power corridor runs adjacent to the Dominguez Channel. By expanding the channel and creating a native riparian ecosystem, the South Bay has a significant opportunity for new open space while modernizing stormwater management.
- The Wylie Sump: This stormwater basin is located across the street from Mira Costa High School in Redondo Beach which is currently dominated by non-native vegetation. The vision for Wylie Sump is a showcase for South Bay native ecosystems that can offer recreation and education for the residential community.
The South Bay Groundwater Network and Hydrology
The Cal Poly Pomona 606 Graduate Studio researched the South Bay hydrology and stormwater network within their 2011 "Re-envisioning Open Space" report. Some findings:
- A system of injection wells injects over 17.5 million gallons per day of imported and recycled water to combat salt water intrusion into the aquifers beneath the South Bay. Ironically, with the AES site located on top of the old Salt Lake, AES keeps three groundwater wells continuously pumping to prevent Units 5 and 6 from being submerged.
- Less than half of the LA region's stormwater is captured. With imported water costs projected to increase substantially in the upcoming years, water conservation and new stormwater capture methods present significant opportunities.
- Importing water is very energy intensive
- Desalinization is very expensive
- Most of the coastal neighborhood stormwater systems terminate in the Santa Monica Bay.
- The water system, analyzed as a total system, presents opportunities for:
- Open space
- Better groundwater AND Santa Monica Bay water quality
- Mitigation of future water costs.
The Santa Monica Bay Depths, Currents and the South Bay Injection Wells Protecting Groundwater from the Cal Poly Pomona 606 Graduate Studio "Re-envisioning Open Space" report.
Schematic Illustrating Salt Water Intrusion in Redondo Beach from the Cal Poly Pomona 606 Graduate Studio "Re-envisioning Open Space" report.
South Bay Stormwater Network map from the Cal Poly Pomona 606 Graduate Studio "Re-envisioning Open Space" report. Note the system terminations into the Santa Monica Bay.
The Economics of Water
With the Carlsbad desalination plant now in operation, it's worthwhile to note that the San Diego Water Authority has purchased the desalinated seawater for $2,131 to $2,367 per acre-foot in 2016.
The following table is from the "Where Will We Get the Water? Assessing Southern California's Future Water Strategies" report issued by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation:
The LAEDC cost estimates for different water strategies
Other findings in this report include:
- Increasing imported water is not feasible due to financial and environmental constraints.
- The Dept of Water Resources reported that transporting water to Southern California from the:
- Delta to Lake Castaic costs $212 per acre-foot
- Delta to Lake Perris costs $391 per acre-foot
- Water treatment costs add another $155 per acre-foot
- Desalination of groundwater requires less energy than ocean desalination because groundwater is less salty. As a result, greenhouse gas emissions from the groundwater desalination process is less than from ocean desalination.
Opportunities for Native Landscapes and Ecosystems
In their 2011 analysis, the Cal Poly Pomona 606 Graduate Studio identified underutilized spaces such as steep hillsides, schools and industrial properties in the South Bay with strong opportunities for native landscapes. Incorporation of native landscapes could improve biodiversity, environmental quality, habitat connectivity and ecosystem services. Certain sites also provide ecosystem, habitat and geologic educational potential despite a highly urban setting thus providing many of the same benefits of parks and open space.
Residential properties, another category with tremendous opportunity, were excluded from this example.