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City of Solvang Receives Award of Merit for Santa Ynez River Bank Restoration Project

Solvang project
An alternative vegetative system as part of the Santa Ynez River Bank Restoration Project consists of heavily native vegetation reinforced with a system of piles and cables. (City of Solvang photo)

During the fall of 2013, the City of Solvang completed the Santa Ynez River Bank Restoration Project adjacent to the Solvang Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Past erosion of the river bank near the WWTP was increasingly putting critical facilities at risk. Instead of armoring the existing banks, the project included an alternative vegetative system that encourages natural sedimentation and rebuilding of the banks of the river closer to its historic flow path.

Specifically, the system consists of heavily planted native vegetation reinforced with a system of piles and cables that collect debris during flow periods and slow the water down.

Due to the slowing of the water, sediment settles out and gradually builds up the eroded bank.  Riparian vegetation is therefore less likely to be scoured out and reestablishes more quickly after large storms.

After several years, the result will be a permanent, mature stand of native vegetation adjacent to the eroded bank that prevents further erosion and gradually rebuilds the natural river bank.

Engineering and design services were provided by Stantec Consulting (formerly Penfield & Smith) of Santa Barbara. Construction was completed by Cushman Contracting of Goleta. The total project cost including design, permitting, and construction was approximately $732,000.

The project recently received an award of merit from the California Chapter of the American Planning Association. The specific award received was the Innovation in Green Community Planning Award.

— Mary Ellen Rio represents the City of Solvang.


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