Implementing a Stormwater Program in the Desert - Approaches for Success

Date / Time:
Tuesday, Oct 16 2:10pm to 2:40pm
Raincross A & D (Upper Level)
Track / Session:
Municipal Track / Implementation

This year’s conference theme focuses on the uniqueness of the Santa Ana River Watershed in Riverside County. However, Riverside County is actually home to three separate watersheds, Santa Ana, Santa Margarita and Whitewater River. All three of these watersheds are unique and separate, but equally important to Riverside County. Due to the unique features of each watershed, each one is governed by a separate Regional Water Quality Control Board. This presentation will focus specifically on the Whitewater River Region. Permittees in this region include Riverside County Flood Control and Conservation District, Riverside County, Coachella Valley Water District, and 10 incorporated desert cities. Implementing a Stormwater Program in a region that experiences approximately 3-inches of rainfall a year presents its own unique set of issues in comparison to its sister watersheds within the County. Much of the focus of stormwater controls related to MS4 Permit compliance in the Whitewater Region are focused on source control measures and public outreach efforts. Further, the Whitewater River Region Permittees have been implementing retention requirements for new development and redevelopment projects in this area for many years now, making its Permittees experienced in implementation of low impact development.

The purpose of the presentation is to educate attendees on how several desert cities approach the region’s MS4 Permit requirements to achieve successful stormwater implementation in the desert. Further, the presentation will educate attendees on how the desert region differs from the rest of the State, and how source control and mitigation measures that may work in other areas do not make sense in this region. For example, a common misconception is that low impact developments include turf like vegetation, such as grass swales. However, in the desert area, landscaping requirements focus on a desert appropriate vegetation that is drought and heat tolerant.

Note: Consideration is requested for a 60-minute session if conference layout allows.

Primary Speaker:
Melanie Sotelo, CASC Engineering and Consulting, Inc.
Melanie Sotelo serves as the Environmental Program Manager for CASC Engineering and Consulting, Inc. with a background in Environmental Science. Melanie has over 15 years of experience in implementing water quality and stormwater compliance programs. Melanie assists several agencies in the Santa Ana River and Whitewater River Watersheds in implementing their Phase 1 Storm Water Programs, and their New Development and Redevelopment Programs.
Supporting Speaker 1:
Christina Canales, City of Palm Desert
Supporting Speaker 2:
Michael Parmer, City of Indian Wells