Long Beach’s historic Rancho Los Cerritos launches water recovery project – Press Telegram

After nearly four years of planning and fundraising, Rancho Los Cerritos will launch a $4 million groundwater recovery project with a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday, Feb. 16.

Actual construction will begin in April, Executive Director Alison Bruesehoff said. So far, $3.4 million in grant money is in hand, with plans to raise the other $600,000 — to pay for an extensive new STEAM education program — during the four-month construction period.

“We started talking in 2018 and in 2019 we applied to the Port (of Long Beach) for a stormwater mitigation grant,” Bruesehoff said. “They came through with a $1 million grant.

“It’s taken a few years to get the rest of the money,” she added, “but we’re there, thanks to the Metropolitan Water District and the (Los Angeles and San Gabriel) Rivers and Mountains Conservancy.”

Rancho Los Cerritos was carved out of the Nieto Land Grant in 1834 and sold to John Temple in 1843. Temple built the still-standing two-story Monterey-style adobe in 1844. He sold the rancho in 1866 to the Flint, Bixby & Co . The Bixby family sold the home and surrounding land to the city around 1950 and it opened as a public museum five years later.

Today, the rancho manages to capture and use about 40% of the rain that falls there. Once the project, called “Looking Back To Advance Forward,” is finished and operating, it will be able to capture 95% for reuse on the rancho as irrigation.

There are two parts to the project: creating an active collection system and enhancing the current natural system, making use of the arroyo on the land.

“The stormwater design elements respect the existing site context in a meaningful way with minimal disturbance and a careful selection of materials,” Studio One Eleven Landscape Director Kirk Keller said in a release.

Studio One Eleven, P2S Engineering and the Griffith Company comprise the project team.

The active collection system will be primarily 25,000 square feet of permeable paving capturing what once was runoff, which will then be sent to a 22,000-gallon cistern. The water will be filtered and ultraviolet-treated before being used as gray water irrigation supplies.

Storm water already runs into the arroyo when it rains.

But the project will create a pond near the bottom of the arroyo, including fountains to keep the water from becoming stagnant. Landscaping comes into play with the choice of plants and earthwork contours that aid in water filtering into the ground instead of running off the property.

An overlook into the arroyo will help tell the story and add educational opportunities.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.