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.