Officials in Inglewood, CA partnered with Woodard & Curran to identify stormwater best management practices to implement in the city’s largest park with the goal of improving surface water quality and providing enhanced amenities and educational opportunities for the community.
In 1996, Inglewood officials renamed the 55-acre park bordered by E Florence Avenue to honor Edward Vincent Jr.’s contributions to the city as a former councilman and the first African American mayor. The public space includes several community amenities, such as baseball and softball fields, tennis courts, basketball courts, a soccer field, playgrounds, picnic areas, an open-air amphitheater, a pool complex, and several shade trees. It is also the historic location of the Centinela Creek and the Centinela Springs.
The Ballona Creek Enhanced Watershed Management Program, the regional stormwater quality management planning document, identified Edward Vincent Jr. Park as an ideal location for a regional stormwater capture project, capturing runoff from areas of Inglewood, Los Angeles, and unincorporated Los Angeles County. After receiving essential Technical Resource Program funding through Los Angeles County’s Safe, Clean Water Program (Measure W) in 2020, Woodard & Curran was contracted to conduct a feasibility study to assess best management practices that would reduce pollutant loads and improve water quality.
The project team conducted hydrologic and hydraulic modeling using Los Angeles County’s Watershed Management Modeling System (WMMS) to characterize the flow and volume of the 85th percentile 24-hour storm event from the contributing 895-acre drainage area. This analysis helped estimate the project’s pollutant load reductions for total suspended solids, nitrogen, phosphorous, cadmium, copper, lead, zinc, and bacteria to the downstream Ballona Creek Estuary, to meet water quality objectives established by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board. A geotechnical investigation also helped the team evaluate options for stormwater treatment and infiltration potential to inform a concept layout and engineering configuration that addresses the city’s stormwater treatment and compliance objectives.
Aerial View of Edward Vincent Jr. Park
The feasibility study identified several improvements to reduce pollutant loads in the Centinela Creek and Ballona Creek Estuary, including storm drain diversions, an infiltration gallery, a dry creek channel, and bioretention area with trash capture and sediment forebay. The design will also include community amenities, such as a new baseball field, additional native vegetation and shade trees, new trails, a boardwalk, additional seating areas, improved public safety, and educational opportunities throughout.
Following completion of the feasibility study, the city secured $4.3 million from the Safe, Clean Water Program to complete the design phase of this significant, multi-benefit project.
This project showcases how Los Angeles County’s Safe, Clean Water Program can effect change, not only for water quality, but also improve historically disadvantaged communities that the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) defines as areas disproportionally burdened by multiple sources of pollution and with population characteristics that make them more sensitive to pollution. Since state legislation passed in 2016, California cities and counties are required to address environmental justice in their general plans. CalEPA lists most areas of Inglewood in the top 25 percent of census tracts in the state with the highest pollution burden and socioeconomic vulnerabilities. The annual median household income for residents within the city is also less than 80 percent of statewide annual median household income, classifying the city as a disadvantaged community.
Involving the community during the project development process is a key element in identifying the benefits most suitable to those who use the park regularly. Woodard & Curran worked with the city to develop an outreach and engagement plan, striving to bolster engagement during the design phase through workshops, community events, surveys, flyers, and posters with opportunity for residents to provide feedback on what matters to them.