Saturday, September 13, 2008

Chino Wetlands Educational Park, Inland Empire Utilities Agency

Originally uploaded by andrewkanzler
About a week before it opened myself and some classmates took a private tour of the IEUA Treatment Wetland Educational Park. Dr. Stephen Lyon one of the leaders in Wetland sciences gave us our tour and though it's still in its infancy it's pretty awesome.

Located in Chino at the Inland Empire Utilities Agency is a state of the art treatment wetland facility. Forget that the buildings are LEED Platinum, and much of their own energy is produced from methane and solar energy. Their wetlands can really help educate people alternative water usages and sources.

Almost all the different types of wetlands were shown here. Subsurface wetlands with different sizes of gravel and different plantings and also submerged wetlands. These wetlands are actually used to treat water but only as tertiary treatments not primary or secondary. After the water is cleaned it is sent to the Chino Creek just across the street.

What's really cool about this is that all the plants are California Native plants. The roots of the Bulrush reach three feet down in the subsurface wetlands and the gravel also creates more surface area for algae to grow on. In the traditional wetlands instead of mosquito fish the native Arroyo Chub is used to eat mosquito larvae.

Some of the coolest of the features is the reuse of materials, a sign post uses waste pipes and a bench (though it's a little too high) uses an old grate and pipe. Throughout the park one can see many reused materials most of which are leftover from the construction of the IEUA Headquarters and wetlands.

This reused water tower was fashioned to serve as a lookout tower. The 360 degree view photos I took (click on the photolink above) are from this vantage point, one can get an overview of the entire park and some of the surroundings.

Even the parking spots at the headquarters is pretty cool. These spots use decomposed granite and the handicap spots use permeable paving with colored paving stones instead of paint. No water runoff = good

Now if I were a critic I would say the design of the park isn't all that intriguing, but for what it is, a very utilitarian wetland educational park it does everything right. From the parking, to the planting, to the benches and even the choice of fish this "park" does it all. Here is a map of the park which is located at one end of this giant thing.

... except, I can't tell if this was a mistake or if it was done on purpose.

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