LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers presented its 2015 flood management project of the year award to the Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District for its Lower Santa Ana River Reach 9 Phase 2B project during ceremonies held Oct. 3 at The Proud Bird restaurant, adjacent to Los Angeles International Airport.
“(We) received numerous excellent projects to consider,” wrote John Rogers, president-elect of ASCE’s LA Section, “and selection of the Lower Santa Ana River Reach 9 Phase 2B is in recognition of the project’s unique technical achievements, its complexity, scope and engineering features.”
Rogers highlighted the project’s ability to integrate environmental engineering for habitat mitigation into the flood risk management feature of the bank protection design. The award recommendation was endorsed by ASCE’s Orange County Branch, which awarded its 2014 Environmental Engineering Project of the Year award to the LA District for the same project.
Responding to the notification of the award, Robert Kwan, the project’s design engineer, wrote, “We are honored to be selected for this award in performing our duty in public service to provide flood protection and environmental restoration to benefit the community. Our gratitude extends to our cooperative project sponsors Orange County Public Works and Riverside County Flood Control & Water Conservation District and architect-engineering firms Genterra Consultants, Inc., and WRC Consulting Services, Inc., as well as the construction contractor Harper Contracting, Inc.”
Kwan also discussed the contributions of the team members who worked for the project’s success, saying they were fortunate to have experts in environmental science, biologists, fishery experts, wildlife resource specialists and landscape architects to complement the engineers in hydraulics, sediment transport, geotechnical, civil, structural, and transportation disciplines.
“Our challenge was to demonstrate how to create a perennial stream habitat suitable for the Santa Ana Sucker fish without compromising the much needed flood protection for the adjacent public infrastructure along an 8-mile stretch of naturally meandering Santa Ana River below Prado Dam,” Kwan said. “We have created the initial building blocks along the 1-mile segment of Reach 9, Phase 2B project to allow the habitat to establish and adapt to future changes. Now, we have to wait and see if Mother Nature agrees.”