Department of Public Works
dpw.lacounty.gov
Sustainability
Rory M Shaw Wetlands Project (Strathern) (Water Resources)
Summary
The Sun Valley Watershed is a 4.4-square mile watershed located in east San Fernando Valley.  The watershed is currently not served by a comprehensive storm drain system.  As a result, the area suffers from chronic and severe flooding during rainfall events. The proposed project will provide significant alleviation of flooding in the Sun Valley watershed area. In 1998, the Sun Valley Stakeholders Group was formed to solve the local flooding problem while retaining all stormwater runoff from the watershed.  The Rory M Shaw wetlands project will convert a 46-acre constructed debris landfill into a multi-purpose wetlands park.  Stormwater runoff from the upstream tributary area will be collected and conveyed into the site.  Other benefits to be realized from the project include water quality cleansing management by treatment wetlands, groundwater infiltration, passive and active recreation, and habitat restoration. 
Benefits to Environmental Resources
The primary goal of the project is to enhance flood protection for the 929-acre Sun Valley Watershed.  Chronic flooding occurs in the area during large rain events.  Rain falls mostly on impervious surfaces within the watershed, thus creates serious flood control challenges and carries heavy pollutant loads into the Los Angeles River and eventually, the ocean.  Water Quality treatment units and proposed wetland will remove trash and pollutant loads associated with the urban storm water run-off.  Ultimately, the treated stormwater is conveyed into existing subsurface infiltration chambers at the adjacent Sun Valley Park (completed in 2006).  The project will activate the site with public green space and increased native vegetation, which will create opportunities for wildlife habitat restoration.  The project will improve air quality of the area by replacing the inert landfill with a multi-use facility. 
Contribution to wellbeing of DPW and the County
The surounding area of the project site is mixed industrial and residential.  The proposed project helps fill a significant void of public open space in the area by transforming the site into a recreational park for community access and enjoyment.  The open space area integrates various public amenities and includes walking paths, basketball and tennis courts, kid's play area, picnic grounds, open green space, public restrooms, and interpretive and wayfinding signage.  Another transfomative social benefit of the project is the enhancement of the community aethetics with open green space and native vegetation.  The local community is provided a sanctuary with public gathering space for social interaction and recreation.   
Contribution to Economic Health
The project enhances flood protection, improves stormwater quality, and promotes water conservation.  The project mitigates flooding that occasionally causes economic losses to the local residents and businesses.  The use of local wetlands to treat pollutants will reduce the amount of stormwater that reaches the downstream water bodies and the resulting costs of regional stormwater treatment.  The recharge of groundwater and local aquifers will provide a sustainable economic benefit by reducing the need of imported water.  The project will also enhance the overall aesthetics of the community that may spur future development in the area. 
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