Anaheim’s New Stormwater System Becomes Award-Winning Project

Modjeska Park Underground Stormwater Detention and Infiltration System Project in Anaheim, CA, designed by Cannon of San Luis Obispo, CA, was recently honored two awards for its beneficial public contribution and engineering excellence.  

It was announced in November that the American Public Works Association’s (APWA) Southern California Chapter named the system Project of the Year in its category. Additionally, the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) selected Cannon to receive an Honor Award for their annual Engineering Excellence Awards competition, to be celebrated at their virtual gala on February 4th, 2021.  

This state-of-the-art underground system solves local flooding issues for the residents of Anaheim by diverting and treating up to 182 acre-feet of urban runoff per year. The system is located underneath a 37,000 square-foot parking lot in Modjeska Park. As part of Orange County’s Stormwater Resource Plan, the modular concrete system also protects regional water quality by collecting, treating, and infiltrating urban runoff, thereby recharging the groundwater supply. The finished project is engineered with drywells which draw water to deeper, more favorable soils, facilitating groundwater recharge. It also features a custom-designed pre-treatment system with a trash capture device to prevent clogging. The beautified parking lot was refinished with permeable, interlocking concrete pavers to enhance water conveyance to the system, and upgraded to increase accessibility for those with disabilities. 

“This project has some unique features that aren’t just off the shelf. The custom-design was a group effort by Cannon, GHD, and the City of Anaheim,” said Gary Solsona, Cannon’s Project Manager and Principal Civil Engineer. “The main issue was an undersized storm drain, and the conventional fix would be a larger pipe. Our underground system is more environmentally sensitive and addresses water quality, recharge, and overall sustainability. I’m excited to see the difference it makes during the next large storm event.” 

The new system prevents flooding and damage to the roadway infrastructure and homeowners’ properties during storm events. By infiltrating the runoff, pollutants are naturally filtered into the soil, which replenishes the water table and reduces marine pollution. The underground structure does not impede park use or future park development. 

“It feels awesome to be recognized for our team’s dedication and hard work,” said Solsona. “I’m really proud of what we’ve accomplished. A strong client, strong engineers, and strong construction manager all lead to a great project success.” 

Central Coast APWA Honors Arroyo Grande Creek Project

Cannon is pleased to accept the California Central Coast Chapter APWA 2019 Project of the Year Award in recognition of the Arroyo Grande Creek Waterway Management Project.  

According to the award’s criteria, “The Central Coast Chapter APWA Public Works Project of the Year Award was established to promote excellence in the management and administration of public works projects by recognizing the alliance between the managing agency, the consulting engineer/architect, and the contractor who, working together, complete public works projects.” This award is recognizing teamwork and the successful products of those teams.  

The Arroyo Grande Creek Waterway Management Project, which is to be completed by the end of 2020, exemplifies the above description. To provide a seamless project outcome, the County, along with Cannon and Waterways Consulting, worked together to coordinate and secure funding for the project, gain appropriate permits, work with local and federal stakeholders, develop construction documents, and provide long-term management. These collaborative efforts between all parties balanced sensitive environmental considerations with protective measures to reduce potential flooding impacts on the landowners and residents who live within the reach of the watershed.  

In response to severe flooding, the Arroyo Grande Creek Watershed was initially constructed in 1961 by the USDA Soil Conservation Service and the Arroyo Grande Resource Conservation District. At this time, the project was funded with federal, state, and local funds, with the San Luis Obispo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District (District) in charge of operating and maintaining the area. The main features of the project were a levee system and trapezoidal channel that confined Arroyo Grande Creek from its confluence with Los Berros Creek downstream to the Pacific Ocean. However, after another major flooding event in 2001, the County of San Luis Obispo initiated their efforts toward redesigning the Creek. 

John Evans, Cannon’s Principal Civil Engineer on the project, stated that “the environmental restrictions were a major problem for the County because they didn’t allow for proper maintenance to the vegetation, which contributed to the flooding problem.” 

The County of San Luis Obispo engaged Waterways Consulting to develop a design basis for preliminary plans to enhance the channel capacity and to provide a management program to keep the channel clear in the future. Design for the Arroyo Grande Creek Channel Waterway Management Program incorporated levee modifications and armoring, floodwalls, vegetation management, sediment removal, habitat enhancement, and other improvements necessary to protect the nearby residents of Oceano. 

Modifications to the lower three-mile reach of Arroyo Grande Creek were needed to increase the capacity of the creek and enhance flood protection up to a 10-year storm event. Other environmental benefits included enhancement of water quality conditions and the addition of a sensitive species habitat. The County selected Cannon to provide design engineering to finalize the construction documents. The Cannon team, including subconsultants Waterways and Yeh and Associates, worked closely with professionals that had assisted in the County’s decade-long effort to create and determine the design basis in which the preliminary plans for Creek enhancements were developed.  

“This project was an exercise in patience and determination, mostly due to the permitting requirements. It was a competitive process,” stated Evans. “It feels good to be recognized, first by the County, and now by the APWA for our capable, experienced team. Finally, after 20 years, we’ve achieved an overall strategy for a project that we can maintain moving forward.” 

Enterprise Generously Donates to Well Worth It

The Enterprise Holdings Foundation donated $2,500 toward Cannon’s Well Worth It Campaign in 2020. Cannon, in partnership with Charity:Water, has raised more than $130,000 over the last ten years to build 24 wells, fund a drilling rig, contribute to bio-sand filters, and boost hygiene education. The Enterprise Holdings Foundation has now been a supporter for four years running.

The Enterprise Holdings Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Enterprise Holdings, which, through its integrated global network of independent regional subsidiaries and franchises, operates the Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car brands.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, fundraising events have been limited, and Cannon greatly appreciates the direct support of organizations and their partners, such as the Enterprise Holdings Foundation.

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To find out more about The Enterprise Holdings Foundation, visit their webpage by clicking here.

Want to learn more about Well Worth it and what we do? Click here to read more.

Cannon Receives Outstanding Urban/Land Development Project Award

Each year, ASCE Region 9 presents Project and Individual Awards to recognize outstanding Civil Engineering projects at their annual ASCE Region 9 California Infrastructure Symposium and Awards Dinner. This year, the virtual awards dinner was on September 24th. To be nominated for one of these awards, projects must be located within the boundaries of ASCE Region 9, better known as the State of California. Cannon received an award in the Outstanding Urban/Land Development project category for our work on the Righetti Ranch project.

The evolution of Cannon’s involvement with Righetti Ranch started in 1997 when Cannon began providing land planning and engineering services to win approval of the Orcutt Area Specific Plan (OASP). The Orcutt Area, located along the southwestern edge of San Luis Obispo City, is bounded by Orcutt and Tank Farm Roads, and has since been annexed into the City of San Luis Obispo. The neighboring geography of Islay Hill, Righetti Hill, and the Santa Lucia foothills contributes to a significant local watershed, with creeks and riparian areas present on the project site. Cannon provided technical support and coordination for the resulting Endangered Species Act (ESA) permitting process.

The design of this project is focused on achieving the goals of the OASP, while also providing residents with a walkable community that blends into the surrounding landscape. Ambient Communities selected Cannon to help during the due diligence stage of the project, which included a preliminary drainage analysis, preliminary meetings, data transmittals for coordination with lenders, and a constraints map. Cannon also helped develop revised lot layouts to reflect Ambient Communities’ desire for product mix and siting.

When asked what she found successful about Righetti Ranch, Chenin Otto, Civil Senior Associate Engineer, stated that “Cannon brought a cohesive, multi-disciplinary approach to the project. Our Civil, Survey, Planning, Structural, and Electrical groups all worked on this. We also had backup from our landscape team on stormwater treatment design. We brought a lot of valuable experience to the table.”

Cannon provided the design of the drainage systems for the residential development, comprised of 150 single-family residences and approximately 13,000 feet of new public streets. The design includes stormwater collection and conveyance systems, detention facilities, and several culverts. The analyses incorporated hydrologic modeling to determine design storm flows, collection and conveyance systems, and flow routes. Cannon developed an extensive HEC-RAS (Hydraulic Engineering Center’s River Analysis System) hydraulic model to delineate the adjacent floodplain and identify a network of natural streams that pass through the site.

The Righetti Ranch project was a large, multi-faceted venture which is deserving of recognition. Upon receiving the award, Otto exclaimed, “This project really paved the way for the development of the Orcutt Area Specific Plan, and we had a lot of hurdles to get over along the way. I’m proud of the end product!”

Cannon Receives Two 2019 Green Awards

On September 25th, 2020, Cannon was awarded two honors by the Central Coast Green Building Council’s 2019 Green Awards program.

Our yakʔitʸutʸu Cal Poly Residential Community Project won the highest honor for the Green Schools category. yakʔitʸutʸu, Cal Poly SLO’s First-Year Residential Community, is a large-scale, concrete collegiate student housing project. To honor the Central Coast’s native residents, each of the seven buildings are named after tribal locations on the Central Coast. yakʔitʸutʸu translates as “our community” in the Northern Chumash Language.

The residential community includes 696 units, housing 1,475 beds, multiple study areas, large scale living rooms, outdoor courtyards and circulation routes, a mailroom, recreation center, offices, welcome center, and a food market, all of which wrap around a structured student parking deck. The outdoor spaces, which include a large lawn and amphitheater, volleyball and basketball courts, gardens, and bike paths, were all designed to enhance the Cal Poly experience for first-year students.

As part of the LEED designation and sustainable development efforts, the project includes a 1.1-megawatt solar system providing net zero energy consumption, low-flow shower heads for reduced water consumption, and Low Impact Development (LID) bioretention features for increased infiltration during rain events.

In addition to the Green Schools Award, Cannon also received an Honorable Merit Award for the Leading Sustainable Company category. Cannon has full-time LEED Accredited Professionals on staff to consult on projects and help incorporate environmentally responsible alternatives into our designs and operations. Cannon promotes and engages in green and complete street infrastructure design by incorporating low impact development features, and multi-modal roadways, into our public infrastructure projects whenever possible.