Since 2007 the Whitson Engineers’ team has provided project management, civil engineering, land surveying, and cost estimating services for the Carmel River Floodplain Restoration & Environmental Enhancement (CRFREE) project, a collaborative effort between the Big Sur Land Trust and Monterey County Resource Management Agency, with California State Parks and Monterey Peninsula Regional Parks District as project partners. The project proposes to reestablish 92 acres of historic floodplain habitats, functions and values; remove 1,400 linear feet of levees along the south river bank; construct a 360-foot-long overflow bridge; create 2.6 miles of public access trails with links to Palo Corona Regional Park and Carmel River State Beach; and provide for a new left turn lane into Palo Corona Regional Park. Completion of the project would significantly reduce flood elevations within Community Service Area 50 (CSA 50) – which is one of the highest repetitive loss areas in the entire federal flood protection program – and would avoid over $14 million in infrastructure improvements that would otherwise be needed within CSA 50 to achieve the same level of flood protection. The project is funded by numerous federal, state and local agencies, with major donations and funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, State Coastal Conservancy, California Department of Water Resources, California Department of Transportation, California Wildlife Conservation Board, Clint and Margaret Eastwood, and the Big Sur Land Trust.
Located in Soquel Village within the Soquel Creek floodway, this redevelopment project included an important stormwater treatment and retention facilities along with a new plaza, parking, traffic circulation and utility improvements. Whitson Engineers provided design engineering services that included plans for the Low Impact Development (LID) stormwater elements such as rain gardens and permeable surfaces and water retention facilities. Engineering services also included grading, drainage, hydraulic study and erosion control utilizing native vegetation plantings. Additionally, improvements to the two-acre neighborhood park resulted in better visual, pedestrian, bicycle and vehicular access.
When a 26,300-square-foot Math and Science Building was proposed for providing enhanced STEM learning opportunities, our civil engineers welcomed the challenge and worked closely with the team’s architect and landscape architect to incorporate elements. In addition to pervious pavements, a high-flow rate tree box filter, and conventional storm water handling, Whitson Engineers worked with the landscape architect to design a hallmark biofiltration system that provides outdoor learning opportunities such as environmental testing. In addition to the biofiltration system, a storm water cistern captures roof rainwater and stores it for summer irrigation. Once the tank fills, the water spills into a concrete flume where students can learn about hydraulics. The water then cascades into a series of terraced biofiltration planters where the plant material not only withstands occasional flooding, but also filters out impurities in the water before it enters the storm water system.
As construction of buildings, parking lots, sidewalks and other similar improvements increases stormwater runoff and decreases the availability of natural filtering, the importance of stormwater management increases. For the new nine-acre medical campus with 62,000-square-feet of buildings and 3 plus acres of hardscape improvements, Whitson Engineers furnished engineering design services to address stormwater strategies. Stormwater is collected in rain gardens and bioswales to treat the runoff before draining into underground stormwater retention facilities. The retention facilities promote groundwater recharge and reduce flooding and erosion potential.
Once a 20,000-acre working cattle ranch, Santa Lucia Preserve is now an example of large-scale private land conservation with a carefully designed community within six percent of more than 18,735 protected acres. The Preserve’s goals for water conservation and buffers around streams and sensitive habitat led to construction of a lined reclamation pond that holds just under 24 acre-feet of collected storm water runoff. Whitson Engineers provided land surveying and engineering design services for the pond construction and worked closely with geotechnical engineers and hydrologists to mitigate the possibility for failure of the earthen dam due to high ground water and liquefaction potential during an earthquake.
Along with being able to reclaim and recycle more than 85 percent of the water used in each wash, this next-generation car wash design included stormwater quality management in the form of rain gardens. Our team also prepared grading and drainage plans. Before redevelopment, the site consisted of two abandoned single-family residences and a dilapidated parking lot, so the project had strong support from community residents and government.
Located on the former Fort Ord Army base near Fort Ord Dunes State Park, this five-acre, LEED-certified complex houses offices for Fort Ord Reuse Authority, Bureau of Land Management and Carpenters Local Union 605. The need to capture and retain stormwater is reinforced by California droughts and strategies to keep polluted runoff out of bays and oceans. Whitson Engineers supplied civil site design for grading, drainage, and parking that incorporated Marina’s stormwater retention strategies promoting groundwater recharge and reduce flooding and erosion potential.