All photos: Brett Miller

The AHBE staff is playing a mentorship role again, collaborating with the senior Cal Poly Pomona studio to work together on a Long Beach remediation project exploring various solutions for an industrial site off the Los Cerritos Channel and the San Gabriel Channel. Our mutual goal: investigate long term site conditions spanning the next 100+ years.

The project began this month with a meeting and charette, with each student presenting their case study focusing upon interventions for our site. And this weekend, as part of the inventory/analysis phase of the project, the AHBE staff and students from Cal Poly took to the water together to kayak a stretch of the site.

Our visit gave our project partners a firsthand look at the site from the waterways/channels. While there are some main roads and paths skirting around the site, getting into the water and sharing space with the wildlife (both fauna and flora) offers a much more palpable and accurate experience versus simply scanning maps or even driving by/around the site.

Crossing under the Pacific Coast Highway bridge, the scenery dramatically changes to a barren industrial site (still featuring several functioning oil pump jacks). But even here amongst a landscape of industry can be found a thriving wetland in its center, an ecosystem only accessible by water. Our kayak tour concluded greeted by refineries, an industrial presence dominating the channel landscape.

Our Los Cerritos Channel excursion will play a valuable role in shaping our observations and work back within the studio, providing context for the students as they begin determining future interventions for the Los Cerritos Channel, San Gabriel River, and the surrounding environments.



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  1. No Name #
    April 25, 2018

    uhh, those are not refineries. They are electrical generating plants. They burn natural gas to make steam to spin turbines which spin generators which put electricity into the wires of the electical power grid (which is likely providing the electricity powerin the screen in front of you). The generating plants also use sea water to cool the steam back to liquid water, since the steam water is a closed system continually reusing the same chunk of distilled water in a loop. The sea water for the heat exchangers is taken in from the Los Cerritos Channel, and discharged (many degrees warmer) into the adjacent San Gabriel River (sometimes called thermal pollution). This is the source of the pleasantly (for swimmers) warm salt water in the mouth of the San Gabriel river where it enters the sea at Seal Beach. This pumping of sea water provides major circulation of sea water in the Los Cerritos Channel and Alamitos Bay. The effects of stopping that circulation need study, since the concequenses may be significant (or may not) (Masters Thesis anyone?).


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