CA districts celebrate completion of Oro Loma Horizontal Levee Project
Construction of the Oro Loma Horizontal Levee Project -- an innovative experiment along the San Francisco Bay shoreline, designed to help the Bay Area adapt to projected sea rise and extreme weather -- is now officially complete.
SAN LEANDRO, CA, Nov. 2, 2015 -- Construction of the Oro Loma Horizontal Levee Project -- an innovative experiment along the San Francisco Bay shoreline, designed to help the Bay Area adapt to projected sea rise and extreme weather -- is now officially complete.
The project, started on April 9, 2015, includes a wetland basin and a new type of levee known as a "horizontal levee." This wide, gently sloping wedge of gravel, mud and grass mimics a historic wetland ecosystem that existed before settlement in the Bay Area.
Treated effluent from the Oro Loma facility will flow into the basin, be piped to the top of the horizontal levee, and flow through the soil to sustain native plants. This vegetation will provide wildlife habitat and remove nutrients that threaten water quality. Most significantly, engineers see the horizontal levee as a natural buffer that can absorb storm surges and provide natural protection from flooding at a fraction of the cost of traditional levees.
Phase I of the project is now completed, and community volunteers mobilized by the regional environmental nonprofit group Save the Bay will plant more than 70,000 native plants in November/December 2015.
Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, will lead the monitoring effort to quantify the effectiveness of the levee. The experiment will provide a much-needed field test of how treated wastewater and these new kinds of levees can help address critical flood protection, water quality and wildlife habitat issues.
The public is invited to tour the horizontal levee project and learn from project experts on Saturday, Nov. 14. Tours of the wastewater treatment plant will be also offered. Experts will speak about the project and how the concept could be expanded to protect large portions of the shoreline.