Just when you thought nice weather was headed our way we were hit with another rain storm this week which put our QSP and QSD crew into high gear again. One of our monitoring projects that has had quite a bit of recognition the past few years for their storm water re-use elements, and for being a net-zero recycling facility, is the El Cerrito Recycling and Environmental Resource Center in El Cerrito, California. CSW|ST2 provided pre, post, and during storm inspections as well as weekly sight observations of the construction activities to ensure conformance with the erosion and sediment control measures that were outlined in our Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan.
The recycling center itself, which achieved a LEED Platinum level, is a re-use of a former quarry and has occupied the site since 1972. It was started by the E.C. ology group as a way to convince local citizens to view recycling as a daily habit and since the quarry was being used as a local dump the site seemed to already display its destiny. Fast forward to 2011 the architects, Noll & Tam, used the concept of the circular form of the quarry as a starting point to develop the unique round-about system to maximize the number of dumpsters in the new design. As a reinforcement to the core concept of the center being an resource center Noll & Tam installed an 11,000 gallon water tower that collects water from the operational facility roof which is then filtered and used in the grey water system to support native landscaping and water for toilets in the facilities. The 10 kilowatts of solar also provide enough energy to power all the buildings plus 30% of all the facilities energy needs.
Additional design components such as drought tolerant landscaping and treatment planters like the one shown above help to promote water quality and reuse throughout the entire site.
One of the highlights of the center, and one that I’ve personally used on a few occasions, is the Exchange Zone where volunteers help to organize a collection of books, bicycles, and other reusable items that you can browse through and exchange for items that you’ve brought. The center has a long history with the community but with the recent improvements and upgrades it’s become an education in how a recycling center can connect a community to its history, while moving forward and expanding the idea of reuse as a viable option. This is one project that definitely practices what it preaches.
CSW|ST2 is happy to announce that right before the holidays, and subsequent rain events, we completed the Redwood Lodge creek wall repair and fish passage project in Mill Valley. Last spring heavy rains had caused significant damage to a portion of the 100-year-old mortared stone walls, which contained the creek, and a concrete apron which were both located directly adjacent to the Lodge. To avoid further damage to the Lodge our client applied for and received a Regional General Permit 5 Repair and Protection Activities in Emergency Situations from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to begin the repairs to stabilize the creek walls and the Lodge. The above picture shows the final project where three new weirs were designed and installed to provide an upstream anadromous fish passage and new creek walls to stabilize the corner of the Redwood Lodge for future restoration.
In the pictures above you can see the damage to the former creek walls and the impact it had on the corner foundation of the Lodge. The lodge was originally constructed in the 1890′s as a summer home by shipping magnate George Billings and had eventually been expanded over the years after the family moved from San Francisco to the lodge in 1906. The current owner has plans to restore the Lodge and develop the property in the near future.
CSW|ST2 worked with Redhorse Constructors Inc., A.A. Rich and Associates, and local and state agencies to develop a solution of new concrete walls along approximately 50 feet of the creek, and at the request of the National Marine Fisheries Service new weirs were designed to help promote fish passage upstream. Here you can see workers from Redhorse and R.V. Stitch Construction Inc. smoothing the top and face of the shotcrete walls. The entire wall system was founded on reinforced concrete drilled piers. (View looking upstream.)
In order to shotcrete the walls a bypass pipe was installed to redirect the water. (View looking downstream.)
The existing 4.5 foot high weir created an impediment to the upstream passage of anadromous fish so three weirs were designed to help facilitate the movement. The weirs are spaced approximately 12 feet apart with large boulders and river gravel upstream and a minimum 2.5′ jumping pool downstream to create a pool sequence that facilitates an easier upstream migration. Removable redwood slats are situated in each weir to help low flow passage.
In the two picture above you can see success of the new walls and weirs as the water flows through the creek during a recent storm event. Downstream image on the left, and upstream image on the right.
(photo by James Newkirk, Flickr)
We would like to wish all our clients and friends a happy New Year! 2012 proved to be a challenging year with the economy, but despite the overall outlook we had great success with projects that were in construction and we are looking forward to continuing our hard work on projects that are extending into 2013. We are optimistic that 2013 will bring new and exciting challenges and development and we are looking forward to moving ahead as the economy is revitalized in the bay area in 2013.
As we reflect on the past year we’ve noticed a few trends in our office that we would like to highlight:
- Our clients have become more than a client and more than a project to our firm. We truly enjoy establishing relationships that go beyond a cad drawing or a survey point in the field and to be able to sit down at a table with a client or design team and throw out ideas, concepts, materials, or strategies invigorates our designers and project managers and serves as a catalyst for our own in-house discussions which pushes us to reach for better answers.
- We have an amazing group of employees that are striving to increase their skills and knowledge in the civil, structural, planning, environmental, and landscape fields and to see these professions work together and solve design problems serves our clients’ needs in a streamlined and collective way that other firms aren’t able to accomplish. CSW|ST2 strives to be a compatible and knowledgeable team player throughout a project’s development and we will continue to enhance our interactions with team members to ensure that our client’s receive a high quality project while maintaining a financially responsible design.
- Sustainability is no longer a benefit of a project but an integral part of the design. We are fortunate enough to have clients that push innovative techniques and designs beyond what is required by agencies and it will be these owners and developers that will help to fuel future progress in our field. It also causes our designers to work in tandem with architects and landscape architects to develop an aesthetic and technically correct design solution in order to enhance our best management practices.
- We’d also like to take a moment to highlight a few of the projects that CSW|ST2 has accomplished or worked on in 2012:
We hope that you had a great holiday season and we look forward to hearing from you in 2013. Cheers from CSW|ST2!
CSW|ST2 was on site in June to watch the new pedestrian bridge being placed over a 100′ span on one of our favorite local projects, the Tennessee Valley Pathway project. The trail is one of the main recreational paths for Marin families and visitors due to its mellow inclines and generous path size, and with the recent upgrade of the new bridge to meet American With Disabilities’ standards it will become accessible to the entire community. The improvements are part of a $2.6 million federally funded trail project designed to connect the Mill Valley/Sausalito trail to the Tennessee Valley trail along Coyote Creek. The project involves the creation of an approximately 1 mile multi-modal path to accommodate not only pedestrian, but also equestrian, accessible traffic, and bicycle circulation
CSW|ST2 is the civil engineer in charge of the new pathway that will incorporate boardwalks, levee type pathways, cantilevered decks, roadside circulation elements, and a pedestrian bridge (as seen above) with a 100 ft. span. Specifically, CSW/ST2’s role is to design the facilities to accommodate soil conditions disclosed by the geotechnical engineer, provide accessible designs, coordinate public outreach, conduct hydrologic and hydraulic studies as necessary, and prepare structural designs for pedestrian bridge(s) within an area of bay marshes and other environmental concerns.
CSW/ST2 also coordinated all aspects of the design with the County of Marin, the Department of Fish and Game, San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), Corps of Engineers, Regional Water Quality Control Board, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, as well Caltrans who directs the Federal funding associated with Non-Motorized Transportation Pilot Program (NTPP) projects.
We are happy to see that the installation is moving along and are looking forward to taking the team out for a walk or ride upon completion.
Last night CSW|ST2 attended the first community workshop hosted by the City of Richmond, UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL) at the Richmond Memorial Auditorium. There was a great turnout from the community and the auditorium was buzzing with anticipation and questions for the University and LBNL about potential job opportunities and general site questions. The lab is proposing a 2 million square foot complex within the 170 acres that will consolidate three of their campuses throughout the East Bay.
LBNL started off the night describing the lengthy decision process, followed up by LBNL Deputy Director Horst Simon’s optimistic schedule which has planning, public meetings, and entitlements through 2014, construction from 2014-2016 and the lab operating by 2017. Architect Scott Shell of EHDD followed with a slide show presentation and explanation of architectural styles and outdoor concepts that have previously been associated with scientific and research buildings to educate and engage residents in the design possibilities for the lab. We noted that quite a few people were drawn to the story board that EHDD set up where the community could “vote” on architectural styles, outdoor spaces, and landscape features by putting dots on their favorite picture.
Teams from both the planning and the scientific side set up stations around the room to encourage the community to ask questions on concepts such as Planning & Design, Transportation, Remediation, Job Opportunities, Sustainability, and Science. What is particularly interesting to CSW|ST2 is how LBNL and the design team is encouraging the community to become a strong voice in the design process and we look forward to seeing the plans evolve based on community input. We can appreciate the time and effort both teams are putting forth to start discussions, hear ideas, and tackle concerns that the residents may have about complex issues related to the site. We have found in our own projects that engaging in discussions and concerns early on in the process can culminate in a stronger project that enhances the site and its connection to the community.
The next community meeting is September 6th and we encourage you to join us on seeing how the design process works from the beginning stages through to construction.