Cal Poly Pomona Foundation, Inc.

With 35 years of tradition of thorough environmental research and services to municipalities, NGOs, community organizations and other agencies, California Polytechnic University, Pomona's Master in Landscape Architecture's program has the history and the rigor for delving into projects with complex interactions and intersections of natural and human systems. The school has a host of 606 projects on their website for more information.


1 Submitted Idea

  • 2013 Grants Challenge

    Why is the grass always greener over the leach fields?

    Wildwood Mobile Home Country Club is a mobile home park with an old fairway/golf course connected to it. The fairway has been used as a leach field for the storm water runoff by the neighboring landfill for the last 56 years (unbeknownst to most Wildwood residents). However, it is also a recreation area for the park’s hundreds of residents. On an already contaminated site (an identified EPA superfund site), my idea is to create a built freshwater marsh, bio-swales and walking paths for the residents and wildlife in the area; to transform a 15 acre lawn-monoculture field into a diverse ecology that benefits multiple users and remediates water. This is a multi-step project that will likely require millions of dollars and community input and development. The $100,000 would be used to build an initial bioswale and develop a plan for the full marsh, with the objective of gathering support and finding additional funding. The Community Development Commission of LA (CDC) and County Supervisor Knabe are currently funding a new $4 million Orange Grove Park (5.5 acres) a mile and a half away from Wildwood (Knabe’s website 2013). Considering the environmental negligence towards this site, I seek to bring attention to Wildwood because it is also my home. Wildwood Mobile Home Park has over 360 mobile homes. Squeezed by a railroad and the San Jose Creek to the North and the 60 freeway and La Puente Landfill to the South, the thin site stretches a mile long and shares its slim width with a mostly turf fairway (what used to be a 9 hole golf course). With each mobile home set-up on 1/16th an acre, the fairway serves as the park’s primary green space. Access into the mobile home park is limited to an east entrance making the nearest bike trail and public park half-a-mile and 1.5 miles away travel respectively, leaving the fairway de facto for recreation and exercise. The fairway occupies the north half of the mobile park, which is lower in elevation and only accessible where the transition is not too steep. Thirty foot wide streets with no sidewalks line and lead up to the fairway, sloped so that all the run-off flows onto the grass. The lawn is watered regularly and occasionally inaccessible due to over-saturation, but it’s always green and well manicured by the Wildwood management. The smell on certain days is unbearable, especially on those scorching days. “Smells like spoiled sausage,” as one resident describes it. Walking through the fairway there are three storm drains transporting water runoff from the landfill. “Those tunnels cross under the freeway,” another resident tells me; her twelve-year-old son’s friends took the largest tubular freeway underpass to the other side of the freeway confirming it does. La Puente Landfill is on the other side of the freeway, at 700 acres and 500 feet tall, it is the largest active landfill in the United States (LA County Sanitation District). “It has received approximately 118 million tons of solid waste as of April 2008, raising the original site elevation by over 350 feet and earning it the nickname "Garbage Mountain"…takes 13,000 tons of solid waste per day…”(QED Environmental Systems). The dump is the backdrop to Wildwood Park. A closer inspection of Wildwood’s fairway reveals that it is part of the City of Industry while the rest of Wildwood is considered Hacienda Heights; the fairway is zoned Industrial. I wonder how many of the residents at Wildwood know that their fairway annex is actually a means of filtering the toxins from La Puente’s effluence before it enters the San Jose Creek (SJC). The City of Industry is a sliver of a city composed of industrial and commercial properties. A gerrymandered looking city that ranges from one to two miles wide and fourteen miles long, astride the SJC (between the 605 and 57 freeways). Both a natural and now industrialized corridor, perhaps the name says it all. The Puente Valley Operable Unit (PVOU), which includes the City of Industry and Wildwood park, was designated an EPA Superfund Site in 1994—an area with soil and groundwater contamination (with volatile organic compounds or VOCs) (EPA 2008). This is one of four sites in the San Gabriel Valley condemned to superfund status, a clean-up project was planned in 1996 to install extraction wells and a treatment plant system at the mouth of the Puente Creek to limit and reduce toxic exposure for area 4, the PVOU (EPA 2008). Construction began in 2011 in La Puente, three miles NE from Wildwood (EPA 2011). The planned remediation process takes 10-15 years once construction’s completed (EPA 2011). Wildwood is uniquely neglected and requires special attention to help foster an LA that values their residents and their living environmental quality. A concrete swale runs down the center of the fairway now. To start, spend the money converting it into a bioswale with vegetation, rocks, and a trail.