UC Santa Cruz Stormwater Improvements

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The University of California at Santa Cruz campus has a unique drainage system of ephemeral creeks interconnected by a complex network of sinkholes and underground karst geologic formations. This fragile system has been impacted by increased runoff and erosion due to campus development.

ESA is collaborating with the University to implement corrective actions throughout the campus to help preserve and rehabilitate natural resources. The focus of this multi-year project is to retrofit existing buildings with Low Impact Development (LID) stormwater solutions and restore existing creeks and sinkholes. The first phase, currently under construction, includes a range of projects designed to reduce peak storm flows by increasing infiltration, detention, and diversion. ESA designed several stormwater best management practices (BMPs) including bioretention areas, vegetated swales, and detention basins. Design challenges included blending improvements with the natural campus setting, while avoiding existing infrastructure and controlling construction costs. The second phase, currently in design, involves a number of channel restoration projects to address channel degradation in the two main creek systems, Moore Creek and Jordan Gulch, and selected sinkholes. The channel designs will attempt to rely solely on natural materials salvaged and recycled from other campus projects.

ESA is working with the University of California, Santa Cruz, to plan, design, and implement corrective actions throughout the campus to preserve and rehabilitate natural resources impacted by increased runoff and erosion due to campus development.

Specialized Services

  • Hydrologic and hydraulic modeling
  • Low impact development
  • Stormwater management