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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Bimini Slough Ecology Park

(image from LA Creek Freak. All Rights Reserved.)
Great overview from LA Creek Freak on the Bimini Slough Ecology Park, an interesting urban restoration project near Koreatown.  The article provides a nice history and background for the project including how the project came to be, details on its construction, and most importantly, how to get there to check it out.  A small excerpt from the post:
Fast-forward to the late 1990’s, and two non-profits which are located on this block:
  • The Bresee Foundation grew out of the First Church of the Nazarine at 3rd and Juanita. Bresee provides services for youth and their families. In 2001 Bresee opened its community center building at the corner of Bimini and Second.
  • Los Angeles Eco-Village (a project of its parent non-profit the Cooperative Resources and Services ProjectCRSP) purchased two apartment buildings on the north end of Bimini Place. (Creek Freak Joe Linton lives there.)
The Bresee Foundation, under the leadership of Jeff Carr, began to make plans to close a block of Second Street to create a small park. Initial estimates for park construction looked to be about $400,000… until the city requested a $400,000 underground storm drain be built to get rainwater from one end of the park to the other. Carr told eco-village founder Lois Arkin about this, and she brought in the non-profit North East Trees to use that water, instead of getting rid of it. The solution of flowing that water on the surface of the park ends up being cheaper and better than building the infrastructure necessary to put that water in a huge pipe underground.

North East Trees designed a small park that features a creekbed bio-swale running through it. During much of the year, the creek is pretty much dry. When it rains, water from streets runs into the park. Vegetation in the creekbed slows down flowing rainwater. This helps settle pollutants carried by the stormwater. The pollutants settle into the soil and are broken down by microorganisms. In addition, some of the rainwater infiltrates into the soil, recharging our groundwater.

In addition to providing recreation and relief for the community, the park provides multiple watershed management benefits. It improves water quality (and air quality), increases water supply, provides habitat, and reduces risk of flooding. I like to say that we need thousands of parks like this spread throughout our communities, then we will have restored more healthy watershed functions, then we can more easily remove much of the concrete from our rivers and creeks… and daylight many of the creeks that we’ve buried underground.

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