HIDDEN VALLEY WILDLIFE AREA

SANTA ANA RIVER

WETLANDS ENHANCEMENT PROJECT

PROJECT REPORT

Montgomery Watson
August 3, 1993

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page No.
CHAPTER 1 -

INTRODUCTION ...............................

1- 1 1- 1 1- 1 1- 2

Background ......... ...............................

University of California at Riverside Study ..............
Concept Report ... ...............................

Pilot Study Plan .. ...............................
Pilot Project Report and Grant Application ............... Scope of The Report .... ...............................

1- 2 1- 2 1- 3
1- 4

Hidden Valley Wildlife Area .............................
CHAPTER 2 - PROJECT DESCRIPTION .........................

2 -1 2 -1
2 -1 2 -2
2 -2

Denitrification Requirements ..............................
Biological Process Upgrade Alternative .................

Wetlands Enhancement Alternative ....................
Wetlands and Denitrification Process_

Reliability ..... ............................... Existing Wetlands .....
Project Benefits and Objectives ...........................
Project Development .... ...............................

2 -3

2 -3 2 -5 2 -6

Water Source and Conveyance ............................
Wetlands Area ... ...............................
Phase I Project ........ ...............................

2 -7

2 -8 2 -8
2 -9 2 -9 210 211
21 -1

Improvements to Existing Wetlands ...................
Restoration of Wetlands ...........................

Research and Development Work .....................
Irrigation Channel Improvements ..................... Phase II Project ....... ...............................

Improvement/ Restoration of Existing Wetlands ............
Permanent Conveyance Channel Restoration ..............
Public Use Facilities ..............................

21 -1
21 -1

I
r

CHAPTER 3 - SITE DEVELOPMENT ...........................

3 -1 3 -2 3 -3
4 -1

Phase I Project Development ............................ Phase II Project Development ............................
CHAPTER 4 - INSTITUTIONAL ISSUES ........................

I

Table of Contents

CHAPTER S -

ENVIRONMENTAL AND REGULATORY ISSUES .....

5- 1
6 -1

CHAPTER 6 - OPERATIONS AND MAINTENANCE ...............

Water Quality Operations ...............................
Wetlands Cell Maintenance Routine Site Maintenance Mosquito Control
PublicUse

6 -1

6 -1
6 -2

6 -2
6 -2

Security
CHAPTER 7 - IMPLEMENTATION PLAN .......................
7 -1

Ell

Table of Contents

LIST OF FIGURES
Figure

Following
Page No.

No.

1-1 2 -1
2 -2
7 -1

HVWA (Aerial Photo) ............................. HVWA and WEP Site .............................

1-4

2 -3
2 -5
7 -2

WEP Site Map ... ...............................
Implementation Plan .............................

iii

CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION

The Santa Ana River Wetlands Enhancement Project ( WEP) is an innovative project to
combine polishing of the nitrified and tertiary treated effluent from the Riverside Regional

Water Quality Control Plant ( RWQCP) with environmental enhancement and public use. Recent revisions to the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System ( NPDES) permit for
the RWQCP implementing the California Inland Surface Waters Plan ( ISWP),
require the

plant to meet increasingly more stringent nitrogen discharge limits over the next two years.

Modifications can be made to the plant treatment processes to meet the new nitrogen limits

for final effluent. However, in lieu of making capital improvements at the plant, the City has
a unique opportunity of using the existing wetlands in the Hidden Valley Wildlife Area HVWA) to provide the additional treatment for nitrogen removal. With over 1, 500 acres,

over 200 of which are wetlands, the HVWA provides the City a feasible location to develop
a wetlands treatment system.

Incidently, the final effluent from the RWQCP has been the

only source of water for the existing wetlands in the HVWA for a long time.

The cost of developing the WEP site for wastewater treatment could be significantly less than
the cost to modify the plant, and the WEP provides greater benefits to the environment as
well as to the public.

The public will benefit directly from public use and the improved

wildlife habitat in the HVWA and indirectly from improved water quality in the Santa Ana
River.

BACKGROUND

The City was planning to develop the wetlands in the HVWA for polishing of the final
effluent from the RWQCP over the past three or four years. The following are the major
milestones towards the development of the WEP.

University of California at Riverside Study

In 1990, the City awarded a project to the University of California at Riverside to conduct
1- 1

Introduction

a study on the nitrogen removal in four existing wetlands ponds. Dr. Lanny Lund headed up this study. These four ponds, and several other ponds in the HVWA, have been supplied
with water from the RWQCP for many years.
Water is diverted to the wetlands in the
The

HVWA from the plant outfall channel before it discharges to the Santa Ana River.

results of the scientific study provided some evidence that the wetlands were capable of

removing nitrogen to the levels required by the revised NPDES permit.
Concept Report

In August 1991, John Carollo Engineers prepared a draft concept plan to develop the
wetlands in the HVWA to provide effluent polishing for the plant.
The concept focused on

the development of nearly 500 acres of wetlands to provide effluent polishing for total inorganic nitrogen removal for 48 mgd nitrified and tertiary treated effluent. The report
recommended construction of approximately 20 wetlands ponds and a 56 -inch diameter pipeline to convey the water from the plant to the HVWA. The estimated cost for the project

to treat flows up to 40 mgd was $

23, 300,000.

Because of the estimated cost and of the

permitting required for construction of the wetlands in the Santa Ana River flood plain, the

feasibility of the wetlands project was, at that point, questionable. Pilot Study Plan

To further investigate and refine the idea of using wetlands for denitrification, the City
retained Montgomery Watson to prepare a pilot test plan so that better design data could be
obtained and the estimated size of the wetlands refined.

As the pilot test report was being

completed, the opportunity for the City to include the pilot study as part of a larger wetlands
enhancement project arose, and Montgomery Watson assisted the City to prepare a grant
application package.

A $ 250,000

grant was awarded to the City by the State Resource
which

Agency for the development of the Santa Ana Wetlands Enhancement Project (WEP),

in this report is referred to as Phase I. Phase I includes restoration of approximately 60 acres
of wetlands in the HVWA and a wetlands pilot study. Approximately 10 acres of the 60 acre
site will be used for pilot study.
Pilot Project Report & Grant Application

In November, 1992, Montgomery Watson completed a pilot project (Phase I) report and grant
application package for the State of California, Transportation Commission, Resource Agency.

1- 2

Introduction

The purpose of this effort was to draft a good size initial phase project for a meaningful
demonstration of the wetlands application.

Restoration of an about 55 -70 acres of wetlands

around the existing four duck ponds was considered. This report was oriented to meet the

Resource Agency grant application and U: S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) 404 permitting
requirements.

This project obtained wide political as well as institutional support. Almost all the relevant

agencies supported this project. As a result of this overall effort, the WEP Phase I was

qualified for a $ 250,000 grant by the Resource Agency. The Regional Water Quality Control
Board, Santa Ana Region, Riverside issued a 401 waiver for this project because of no
potential adverse impact on the " Waters of the United States."

The COE is currently
The COE requested for a

considering issuing a 404 permit for the project if it is required.
least Bell' s vireo survey, which has just been completed.

Several investigations were made of the HVWA while the grant application package was

being prepared. It was found that there are over 200 acres of existing wetlands in the HVWA.
If these existing wetlands can be used instead of constructing wetlands, there will be a substantial cost saving to developing the WEP and the permitting issues will be much less
complicated.

Furthermore, if the area requirements for the wetlands can be refined based on
This

the pilot testing data, it may be found that fewer or no additional wetlands are needed. will even further reduce the cost to develop the WEP.

Reliable conveyance of the plant effluent to the HVWA is an important consideration in the

development of the WEP. The plant effluent is currently conveyed by a open channel ditch
that runs from the plant parallel to the river. The channel is constructed of river sediments.

A portion of the channel near the confluence of the Hole Lake outfall and the Santa Ana

River is frequently washed out and must be repaired to keep water flowing to the HVWA.
The John Carollo wetlands report recommended construction of a 54 -inch outfall pipeline to
replace the open channel.

The cost of the pipeline is estimated to be over $ 1, 600,000.

Because the pipeline is in the flood plain, it is still subject to flood damage, although much
less so than the existing open channel. One emphasis of the WEP is to reduce the cost of

the project by identifying ways of improving the reliability of the effluent outfall open
channel.

SCOPE OF THE REPORT

The purpose of this report is to describe in general the scope of the overall WEP to be
1- 3

Introduction

s

developed in the HVWA by restoring existing wetlands with the primary purpose of providing denitrification to the nitrified and tertiary treated 40 mgd annual average dry weather flow
from the RWQCP and its environmental enhancement and public image aspects. The ultimate goal is to achieve the total inorganic nitrogen ( TIN) limits in the final effluent prior to its
discharge into Santa Ana River.

Considering the little information available on the HVWA and the design of wetlands for the

denitrification, the City is planning to restore existing wetlands in two phases.

This report

defines the concept for development of Phase I and Phase II of the WEP and outlines the

benefits, limitations, environmental concerns, permitting issues, financial, and other aspects
affecting the development of the project.
HIDDEN VALLEY WILDLIFE AREA

The HVWA has been operated by the County of Riverside Parks and Open Space Department
County)
since 1974.

The land belongs to the State of California Fish and Game

Commission, and is operated by the County under a 50 -year cooperative management agreement with the State. The HVWA encompasses approximately 1, 500 acres, about 200 acres of which are wetlands ranging in depth from 6 inches to over 5 feet deep. Because of
flooding of the Santa Ana River, some area that were once wetlands have been filled in with
sediments.

Dikes around some of the wetlands have also been damaged leaving the areas

dry. A map of the HVWA is shown in Figure 1 - 1. As indicated earlier, these wetlands have

been using the final effluent from the RWQCP as the only source of water for along time.
Prior to becoming the HVWA, the site was known as the Hidden Valley Gun Club. The gun club was founded in 1957 and remained active until 1974 when the property was purchased
by the State and converted to a public use area. The gun club promoted pheasant and duck

hunting in the area and is responsible for the development of much of wetlands in the HVWA
that still exist.

The HVWA is used for many purposes both privately and publicly. There are many miles of trails and paths that are used for hiking and horseback riding. Approximately 150 acres of land is privately farmed under a lease with the County. The farmer produces two crops
a year, one corn crop and one fodder crop. In exchange for the use of the land, in lieu of

cash payments, the farmer provides the county labor, equipment, and fuel for up keep and maintenance of the HVWA. In addition to agriculture, the area is grazed by sheep several

1- 4

nq..

u

t

w

Alf " `. • . .

d '" ". „ (
4

i

da Aff
qJ

r_

7 c 7411

Ai
T

r

Y

W' •

bn

A:

s ;'

w t

m

r

a

t^

7

ir% VPA, jc

a""

w

o'; p

t

m qY

Y

o

T'
A,

y

Y^, x

L

r °

A. ° ,.

1,µ

i• +'

dry

h .''

V

n

C

w

s

Introduction

months out of the year.

Until last year, when the lease expired, there was the Wild Life Training Center which housed exotic and native animals used of television and motion picture filming. The Center
also served as a way station for sick and injured animals.

Existing facilities include the park rangers office, a staging area for the farmer, a public parking lot, and building associated with the Wild Life Training Center. Access to portions
of the site is controlled by gates and fencing.

a

Much of the HVWA is overgrown with Arundo Donax, a hearty bamboo type plant. Arundo
is not a native plant species and out competes other plants in the area. Because it grows so

thick, it provides only limited habitat for birds and small animals. Also, in the summer
months, the arundo becomes a fire hazard. There have been several outbreaks of fires in past
years.

There are feral hogs living in the area. They have caused some problems including attacking
people and other nuisances.

The City and County are currently negotiating an agreement (memorandum of understanding)
for supervision and general maintenance of the WEP project.

1- 5

CHAPTER 2

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The WEP, a multi -purpose project, is designed to provide denitrification to the nitrified and
tertiary treated effluent of the RWQCP, significant environmental enhancement of the
y

HVWA,

a base for research and development on natural treatment processes,

and

H

enhancement of public uses of the HVWA. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and
regulatory agencies are thoughtfully encouraging use of natural treatment processes being simple, cost effective, and having multiple environmental enhancement functions.
DENITRIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

Revisions to the NPDES permit for the RWQCP require that by May 1, 1995 the plant meet
a TIN limit of 13 mg/1 for flows up to 38 mgd and 10 mg/ l for flows over 38 mgd on an
annual basis and chronic toxicity limit of 1. 0 TUc. Thus, the RWQCP currently rated to 40
mgd capacity has to meet 12. 1 mg/l of TIN limits. To meet these limits both nitrification and

denitrification of the final effluent is required. Apparently, the following two alternatives are
viable under current situations for the RWQCP to meet these requirements.

Biological Process Upgrade Alternative

The upgrade of existing biological treatment at the RWQCP is a viable alternative to meet

the nitrogen limits. The plant consisting of Plant 1 and Plant 2 systems, is currently designed
to provide complete nitrification for 40 mgd annual average dry weather flow.
The Plant 2

biological treatment process originally designed to provide carbonaceous biological oxygen

demand ( BOD) removal and nitrification to an about 20 mgd annual average dry weather
flow, is currently under upgrade for denitrification process without any tankage addition. The
upgrade of Plant 2 is planned for completion during 1993.
biological treatment process were planned.
Similar modifications to Plant 1

A previous concept report prepared by John
2 -1

Project Description

Carollo Engineers indicated a shortfall of 8 mgd capacity and a need of an additional
20,000,000 capital investment.

Wetlands Enhancement Alternative

The restoration of the existing wetlands for denitrification in the HVWA is an another viable
alternative to meet the nitrogen limits. Both natural and constructed wetlands are used for
secondary and tertiary treatment of municipal and industrial wastewater throughout the United
States and in other parts of the world.

Wetlands are reliable treatment process for the

nutrient removal although sufficient data on denitrification is not available. This report will

discuss in details the general concept of wetlands development in the HVWA.

Wetlands and Denitriiication Process Reliability
The nitrogen control concept of the WEP is to use the denitrification capabilities of wetlands
and of the plant to provide reliable and cost effective treatment. The RWQCP will serve as

stand -by capacity to the WEP. The RWQCP effluent is conveyed to the WEP site by an

open channel flowing through the Santa Ana River plain ( see Figure 1 - 1).

Both the effluent

channel and the WEP are subject to flooding of the Santa Ana River.

There are two cases

when the WEP may not provide full denitrification to the final effluent.

Case 1.

In the event the wetlands are not providing full denitrification, the Plant 2 could be

operated in denitrification mode which could provide nitrogen removal for an about 16 mgd
flow.

By blending the denitrified effluent from Plant 2 with nitrified effluent from Plant 1,

the total nitrogen load to the WEP can be significantly reduced.

Case 2. If the effluent channel is washed out and flow can not reach the wetlands or if the

WEP is damaged by flooding. In a worst conditions, a permanent repair to channel and
wetlands may take up to 2 to 3 months.
As in Case 1, the Plant 2 could be operated in

i
2 -2

Project Description

denitrification mode and its denitrified effluent will be blended with the nitrified effluent from

Plant 1. The total plant effluent will be partially denitrified. The current TIN limit is an
annual average limit, so the permitted limit can be exceeded for a short period of time

without having a permit violation. By using the denitrification capacity of the RWQCP to

reduce TIN concentrations, and making repairs to the WEP as quickly as possible, a permit violation can be avoided even though the actual TIN concentration in the effluent may exceed
the permit limits for a short period of time.

EXISTING WETLANDS

There are approximately 200 acres of existing wetlands in the HVWA surviving on the
RWQCP effluent. Most of the wetlands are man- made ponds that have existed at the site for
20 or more years.

Originally used for duck hunting, when the property belonged to the

Hidden- Valley Gun Club, the ponds are now maintained by the County as wildlife habitat and
as irrigation reservoirs. There is a system of unlined irrigation channels flowing through the
site which convey RWQCP final effluent to and from the wetlands ponds.
The focus of the

WEP is primarily the 200 acres of existing wetlands and the system of irrigation channels.
The existing wetlands and irrigation channels within the HVWA are shown in Figure 2 -1.

PROJECT BENEFITS AND OBJECTIVES

The WEP is a major environmental enhancement project in Riverside County.

The project

has multiple benefits of water quality improvement, restoration of high -quality riparian habitat
for native and transient migratory wildlife species, groundwater recharge, and other wildlife
and public benefits.

Many resident and migratory waterfowl use the existing wetlands area
The

in the HVWA for wintering and nesting including the endangered Ieast Bell' s vireo.

WEP will improve and restore wetlands making it a major site on the waterfowl migratory
corridor with site diversification.

The Santa Ana Bikeway adjacent to the Van Buren

Boulevard will also be enhanced by the WEP.

2 -3

14,

CLCL

EE

CLCL 33
co

coco

0
m.

0

C0 CL
m

N

0

E

80

LU cr

0

CL

O

Project Description

The natural capabilities of wetlands to simultaneously purify and upgrade the quality of
treated wastewater discharged to the Santa Ana River by the RWQCP is another major benefit
to the project.

The wetlands will help the City to reduce nitrogen concentrations in the
Integrating

treated RWQCP effluent before it is discharged to the Santa Ana River.

wastewater treatment for nutrients removal with environmental enhancement will mean lower
operational and maintenance costs than conventional treatment facilities and offer aesthetic
benefits for the public.

The groundwater recharged provided by wetlands will benefit the growing population in the
Riverside area by helping to replenish groundwater aquifers.

The project is planned to ultimately include the following benefits to the community:
An access road off the planned Jurupa Avenue extension, with a public

parking area and observation point located at the top of the southern bluff,
providing a scenic overview of the project

Site access and rest room facilities at the observation point.

The existing

clubhouse may be renovated as a visitor and environmental education center

Hiking and equestrian trails

Pedestrian trails along the flood control and wetlands dikes

001

Project Description

PROJECT DEVELOPMENT

f

The project will be completed in two basic steps. The first step, Phase I, is a 55 -70 acre pilot
project funded, in part, by a grant from Caltrans. Phase I is primarily an environmental enhancement and mitigation project associated with the widening of a four mile section of
State Route 60.
the project.

1

Pilot testing of wetlands for denitrification is, however, an integral part of

The second step, Phase II, is expansion of the pilot project to full scale system designed to
treat 40 mgd of tertiary treated effluent. Phase II will encompass all of the existing wetlands

areas within the HVWA and will include restoration of former wetlands and the development

of new wetlands, if necessary.

The implementation of Phase II will depend on the results of the pilot testing in Phase I.
The nitrogen removal data will be used to determine if wetlands are a suitable and reliable
means of the nitrogen removal and to determine the total wetlands area needed to treat all the
flow from the RWQCP.

Regardless of whether the WEP is expanded into the full scale

project, the pilot project area will remain as an environmental enhancement area.

Figure 1 - 1 shows an aerial photo of the HVWA.

Figure 2 -1 shows a map of the HVWA and

the boundaries of the WEP site including the pilot project area and the area for the full scale
site.

The WEP has three major components: conveyance of water, restoration of ponds, and site
development works.

W,

0 C
a
c 0
ca

rn

E

vv 11

ffiffi
fQfQ

M

N
1

mrm r
00

t Y
c` o

0

ZZ

N

m O

m
I
m
4141 WW

U d
c

X

C

in a°

cn mm

zm

caca J3J3
00 cc ""

coco
oo

vmv m
cr) cr)

rr

LLLL S'S' cccc

v v mm

ii

NN
COCO
rr

NN

cc

WW
44
caca
AxAx

00

OO 00
0; 0;
cmcm

CC

ZZ UU

msms

WW

Project Description

Water Source and Conveyance

All water for the WEP will be provided by the RWQCP.. The plant is located upstream of the WEP site and discharges nitrified tertiary treated effluent to the Santa Ana River.
A

significant part of the final effluent has been diverted to the HVWA for several years to

provide water for agricultural irrigation and to keep water in the existing wetlands.
Additional flow, up to as much as 15 mgd, will be diverted for the Phase I
is implemented.
project.

As

discussed above, the entire flow will ultimately be diverted to the site, if the full scale project

The existing open channel that conveys effluent from the RWQCP to the WEP, is constructed
from sediments. in the river bed and meanders in the flood plain from the plant outfall to the

diversion structure for the WEP. A portion of the channel just west of the Van Buren Bridge

along the southern bluff of the flood plain is frequently washed away by the river and by a
tributary stream from Hole Lake. Hole Lake receives flow from an irrigation canal system.

During rainy weather and when the lake is being drained, flow is discharge from the lake to
the Santa Ana River. The outfall from the lake crosses the effluent outfall channel from the
plant washing away part of the effluent channel dikes. During normal weather when the flow

from the lake is low, Hole Lake effluent mixes with the plant effluent and flows to the WEP
site.

Phase I of the WEP includes short-term, low cost improvements to the effluent outfall

channel to keep it from washing away during minor rainfall events.
structures to protect the effluent outfall channel.

Phase II includes

permanent solutions which may include construction of concrete spillways, siphons, or other

There may be ways to divert flow from

Hole Lake upstream of the lake.

These will be investigated during Phase I and H.

There is a system of irrigation channels that flow through the HVWA. The channels carry

water into the area for agriculture irrigation and wetlands water supply and ultimately back
to the Santa Ana River. Improvements and modifications of the channels are an integral part

2 -6

Project Descrip«
of the WEP.

on

Obstructions

widened, if required.

routing of the channels will be modified

Floe, diversion and measurement
an

and vegetation in the channels will be cleare d and the channels
stations ,, i

II be installed
n eeded '

d new channels

and the

constructed as

Wetlands Area
To provide

technolo

process through wetlands, a redundancy for maintenance is essential. Proper sizing with adequate Wetlands are,
however,

a reliable denitrification

of design information available is for BOD and TSS removal available on design available is for
removal.

gy and sizing criteria is stil the subject ofmuch research and debate. The majority
is little information of the systems for nitrogen removal. The nitrogen ammonia nitrogen and total removal data that is nitrogen removal and
specifically for nitrate
and t

still and

emerging

total nitrogen

The WEP wil receive a full nitrified effluent; therefore, the data for ammonia nitrogen and
removal are not

kinetics of

necessarily

nitrification for ammonia

the design of

for nitrification and denitrification_ nitrification, aerobic For conditions would be optimized, and for denitri fication would be optimized. The anoxic conditions design criteria

lfairly slowly while demtrification is In general, the size of a system designed of nitrification wilwetlands be muchwill larger than for a system designed for only denitriication. also be different
that occurs
P y. rapidly

different. Nitrification is an aerobic process

removal and d

applicable to the WEP design. The biological

Also,

specifically for denitriiication.

Primary objective of the pilot testing program is to determine
of California at Riverside
on existin
w

conducted by the University
was referenced.

In order to estimate the potential size ofthe WEp, the data from the wetlands pilot study
The study showed approximate)
rate was 14 Ibs TIN

Assuming that all of the TIN in the effluent is in the )
2 -7

g wetlands in the HuWA 30 nitrogen through the surface flow of ponds. Based n the averagereduction in total inorganic concentrations, Influent flows and nitrogen the average loading
per acre of wetlands.

e form of nitrate nitrogen, on 40 mgd

Project Description

average daily flow, and an effluent nitrate concentration of 15 mg/l, the daily nitrogen loading
for the Phase II WEP will be 5, 000 lbs per day.
therefore, be approximately 360 acres.
subsurface flow.

The total wetlands required would,

This does not consider any nitrogen removal by the

It is believed that the pilot study will show that 25 to 35 percent less wetlands area will be
required.

The University of California at Riverside study was conducted on open water
The WEP pilot study will include both open water

wetlands with little emergent vegetation.

and shallow marsh wetlands. The shallow marsh ponds will have cattails, bulrush, and other
emergent vegetation.

The vegetation provides substrate for denitrifying organisms to grow.

This will provide a higher removal efficiency than in the open water wetlands.

Furthermore, a significant amount of denitrification can be achieved through percolation into
the soil. The WEP pilot study will evaluate denitrification through percolation, and based on

the results, develop a nitrogen control concept that includes both flow through the free water
surface and percolation for treatment.

PHASE I PROJECT

The Phase I project, also called the pilot project, includes the restoration and improvements

to approximately 55 -70 acres of wetlands and to approximately 8, 000 linear feet of irrigation
channels.

Between 7 and 10 mgd of the RWQCP effluent will be diverted to the WEP for
A layout of the WEP site is shown in Figure 2 -2.

the Phase I project.

Improvements of Existing Wetlands There are approximately 30 acres of existing wetlands in the WEP.
There are four ponds

ranging from 3 to 9 feet deep and 7. 5 acres in size. The dikes and perimeter of these ponds
will be cleared and improvements made to the flow control and measurement facilities. The

ponds are currently operated in series, but modifications will be made so that they can be
operated in either parallel or series.

FAR

Project Description

The ponds were used previously in a nitrogen removal study sponsored by the City of
Riverside and conducted by the University of California at Riverside.
The lysimeters and

groundwater monitoring wells were installed as part of that study will be located, rehabilitated

if possible, and used to monitor groundwater water quality beneath and around the perimeter
of the ponds.

In addition to these four ponds, there are five wetlands ponds in approximately 7 acres
located along the southern edge of the WEP pilot project site. The perimeter of these five

ponds will be cleared and the irrigation channels feeding these ponds improved to provide
better flow control and measurement.

Restoration of Wetlands

Approximately 20 acres of the WEP pilot project area is currently used for agriculture. This
area was formerly a wetlands, but it has been filled in over the years and is now used to grow

corn and fodder crops. This area will be divided into eight shallow marsh type ponds ranging from 6 to 36 inches deep, and into two to four open water wetlands areas ranging from 3 to
6 feet deep. The shallow marsh ponds will be planted with emergent wetlands vegetation like cattails and bulrush. The vegetation will be transplanted from other areas in the HVWA, and from outside sources if necessary. The open water ponds will be deep enough to prevent
emergent vegetation from growing. Flow control and measurement structures will be installed
so that the ponds can be operated in either series or parallel.

Five to ten acres of the 20 acre site will be developed as a pilot test area.

Research and Development Work

The Phase I project incudes pilot testing of wetlands for denitrification. Pilot testing includes
both open water wetlands 3 to 6 feet deep with little emergent vegetation and shallow marsh
wetlands 6 to 24 inches deep planted with emergent wetlands vegetation.
r

Denitrification in

2- 9

Project Description

bottom sediments.

Samples will be collected and analyzed to determine the denitrification rates through the
the depth and quality of the surrounding groundwater.
water quality and flow from the wetlands will be measured.
Water

of the wetlands and in the bottom sediments throu h ercolat' l be evaluated. Lysimeters will be installed throughout pilot testing wetlands atyariousde

the free water surface

will

the pilot test area to monitor

Groundwater monitoring wells will be installed around the perimeter of

Influent and effluent

at various location and depths within the wetlands. The water quality data will be used to model denitrification in the wetlands, and the effects of temperature, pH, and other parameters on the system performance.

quality will also be measured

flows will be used to determine loading rates and to determine percolation rates.
report.

Influent and effluent

A detailed pilot testing plan was prepared in November, 1992 and presented in a separate This plan which considered use of two southerly small ponds located along the southern edge of the WEP Phase I
project site.

Thus, the pilot study report will be modified accordingly.
Irrigation Channel Improvements
The existing irrigation channels will be cleaned, graded,

of ponds to be created in the 20 acres of land will provide more representative information.

Further investigations indicated that the use

and widened.

Vegetation and other

obstructions will be removed from the channels and the bottoms and side slopes of the channels reshaped and graded. New channels will be constructed to convey flow to and from the restored wetlands
areas,

constructed at various locations.

and new flow control and measurements stations will be

2 -10

Project Description

PHASE II PROJECT

The Phase II project will expand the pilot project to a full scale wetlands treatment system.
providing complete denitrification of all flow from the RWQCP. On completion of Phase II,
the WEP will provide capacity of denitrifying 40 mgd of flow.
Improvement/Restoration of Existing Wetlands
r

The wetlands area required for the full -scale project will be determined based on the findings
of the pilot project.

It is anticipated that between 200 and 250 acres of shallow marsh

wetlands will be required to treat 40 mgd average daily flow. There are approximately 200
acres of existing wetlands and areas of former wetlands in the HVWA. These areas will be
improved,
restored,

and incorporate as part of the treatment process for the RWQCP.

Additional wetlands will be constructed if required.
Permanent Conveyance Channel Restoration

As discussed earlier, the effluent channel is damaged every year during storm events. Permanent restoration is needed for the reliable operation of the WEP. Permanent restoration
may include construction of concrete spillways, siphon, or other structures to protect the
effluent outfall channel.

Initial investigation and conceptual design of the permanent

restoration will be completed during first phase of the WEP.
Public Use Facilities

Phase II will include the development

of the public use facilities.

Pedestrian and equestrian
And

trails will be developed at the site along the dikes
overlooking the site.

surrounding the wetlands areas.

permanent facilities for a public education center will be developed on the southern bluff

2 -11

Project Description

overlook along the southern bluff
i
visitors.

Public access to the site will be enhanced by construction of an access road and scenic
of the wetlands site.

proposed extension of Jurupa Avenue and will have parking and rest room facilities for
There will be access to the pedestrian trails from the overlook area.

The access road will connect to the

i

rest rooms below the bluff in the Hidden Valley Wildlife Area.

Other public use facilities will include parking for cars and horse trailers, day use areas, and

2 -12

CHAPTER 3 SITE DEVELOPMENT

Site development will consist of primarily clearing and grubbing, cut and fill, and grading to
improve and restore existing and former wetlands areas. Emergent wetlands plants, taken from local wetlands sites, will be transplanted into some wetlands ponds, and improvements will be made to the existing irrigation channels that carry water to and from the project site.

Bulldozers, dump trucks, and scrapers will be used for clearing, grubbing, and grading the
site.

Grade -all equipment and backhoes will be used for irrigation channel improvements.

Dikes for the restored and new wetlands areas will be constructed of non -engineering fill
material, similar to the existing dikes. Engineered fill would require the mining and gradation
of select fill material and the installation of the dike to stringent requirements for compaction
and moisture content.

While engineered fill offers some advantages in durability and lower

permeability of the dikes, the cost for this type of construction is significantly higher than for
non engineered fill.

For a non -engineered fill, the dikes are constructed using available fill

compacted from 80 to 85 percent of maximum compaction. This compaction is much easier

to achieve than the 95 to 98 percent required for an engineered dike fill. requirement for the fill is that it contain a minimum amount of organic material.

The only

The dikes around the existing wetlands have been in place for over 20 years and work well
at the site.

They have been subject to flooding and have experienced only minor damage.

Since any dike constructed at the site will be subject to flooding of the Santa Ana River,
there is no guarantee that a dike, no matter how well it is constructed, will survive a large
flood event.

Therefore, to save on the capital cost, the dikes will be constructed of non

engineered fill recognizing that there will be a slightly higher maintenance and slightly
greater permeability of the dikes.

3 -1

Site Development

PHASE I PROJECT DEVELOPMENT

Phase I of the WEP includes clearing and grubbing of approximately 14 acres of land and
moving approximately 45, 000 cubic yards of earth for dike construction.

Clearing and
site.

grubbing includes removal of the Arundo and other plants within the project

All trees

6 inches in diameter and greater will be preserved, unless there is no practical way to
complete the project and preserve the trees.

It is anticipated that the cut and fill required for the restoration and improvements of the
wetlands will be balanced so that no material will be hauled into or out of the project site.

This is important since special requirements and approvals from the United States Army
Corps of Engineers is required to remove or haul material into or out of the river flood plane.

The depth of cut in the wetlands restoration area will be adjusted so that cut and fill is
balanced.

There is 6 to 12 inches of top soil material in * the agricultural area that will not be suitable

for dike construction. This material will be stripped and stock piled while the wetlands ponds
are being constructed. The material will then be spread in the bottom of the ponds to support
the growth of the wetlands vegetation.

Any excess topsoil material and other earth material

not suitable for dike construction will be spread around the perimeter of the site.

Provisions will be made in the restoration of the wetlands ponds so that the Mosquito
Abatement District has the access they need to treat the wetlands ponds.

There are areas within the Phase I site that are overgrown with Arundo. These areas will be
cleared to the limits of the Phase I site.

The County of Riverside Parks and Open Space

Department and the State Department of Fish and Game have a project to clear Arundo
throughout the HVWA.
as much as possible.

The Arundo clearing will be coordinated with the County and State

3 -2

Site Development

The irrigation channels that flow through the site will be cleaned to remove vegetation and
other flow obstructions.

Additional channels will be constructed and the channels widened

as needed to carry flow to and from the wetlands areas, and flow control and measurement
station will also be constructed so the flow into and out of each portion of the wetlands area
can be monitored and controlled.

Other miscellaneous improvements will be made as part of the Phase I project. The service
roads around the site will be graded, and fencing and gates installed to control access to the
site.

A project trailer will be setup in the farm equipment area and utilities ran to the trailer.
set up at the site.

Temporary facilities for a public education program will also be

Day use

and public rest rooms will be constructed and a project sign will be put up.
PHASE H PROJECT DEVELOPMENT

The development of Phase II will be similar in scope to Phase I. The area around the

existing wetlands will be cleared, the irrigation channels cleared and graded, improvements
made to the service roads, and if necessary, new wetlands will be constructed. The goal will

be to balance the cut and fill to minimize the permit requirements to implement Phase II.

Phase II will, however, include improvements for flood control, water conveyance, roads, etc.
that will require concrete, gravel, rip rap, and other materials be imported in the river flood
plain.

A permit to construct from the Corps of Engineers will therefore be required for

Phase II.

Of particular importance are improvements to the effluent outfall channel from the plant. As

previously discussed, the channel is constructed of river sediments and is typically washed
away by the Santa Ana River and the outfall from Hole Lake. Phase II will implement

improvements to the channel to provide greater reliability and survivability from flood events.
This will require the import of concrete, rip rap, and other construction materials.

3 -3

Site Development

The public use facilities will be expanded in Phase H.
facilities will be constructed.

More trails, rest rooms, and day use

3 -4

CHAPTER 4

INSTITUTIONAL ISSUES

There are several agencies involved in the development of the WEP. The City is the lead
agency.

The City is working closely with the Riverside County Parks and Open Space
The County has operated the HVWA as a public use area since 1974 under an

Department.

agreement with the State of California Fish and Game Commission. Due to budget cutbacks,

however, the County had planned to turn the property back over to the State. The City is
working on a cooperative agreement with the County. Under the agreement, the City will

fund the County to continue to operate the HVWA and in turn the City will use a portion of
the HVWA to develop the WEP-

Caltrans has awarded a $

250,000 grant to the City for the development of Phase I of the

WEP. The project was funded as environmental mitigation project connected with a Caltrans
project to widen a four mile portion of State Route 60 north of the project site.

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service also have a related role in the development of
the project.

They are proponents of the project, and they support a related environmental

enhancement to clear Arundo from the HVWA.

Since the primary goal of the WEP is to provide effluent polishing for nitrate removal, plans for the project must be reviewed with the Regional Water Quality Control Board. They must
approve the concept of using a natural system included as part of the treatment processes. It is important to understand the WEP will be within the Santa Ana River flood plain and

therefore subject to flooding during major storm events. Depending on the magnitude of the

flood and the damage to the system, the ability of the RWQCP to meet effluent water quality
requirements could be affected.

4 -1

CHAPTER 5

ENVIRONMENTAL AND REGULATORY ISSUES

A Categorical Exemption has been obtained under the California Environmental Quality Act
CEQA) for the Phase I WEP. The Phase II WEP will also require environmental compliance

under CEQA, and perhaps also under the National Environmental Policy Act ( NEPA) if a federal agency is involved by resource jurisdiction or permit authority. Potential federal lead
agencies for NEPA compliance for this project are the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers if a 404
or nationwide permit is required and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service if the project impacts
listed endangered species.

Under CEQA, the Phase II project requires either a categorical exemption, a negative
declaration, or an environmental impact report.
exemption would be appropriate.

At this time, it appears unlikely that an

Whether a negative declaration or EIR is needed will be

decided after an initial study is completed to identify potential significant impacts and
mitigation which can be incorporated into the project itself. If all potential impacts can thus

be mitigated to a level of less than significant, then a negative declaration can be prepared.
An EIR is needed if significant impacts are anticipated. With respect to NEPA compliance,
the documents parallel

CEQA:

an

exemption,

Environmental Assessment ( EA),

or

Environmental Impact Statement ( EIS).

It is recommended that the need for and the type of NEPA compliance be determined as early
as possible in the project, so a joint CEQA/ NEPA document can be prepared. This will save
considerable time and cost.

The potential environmental issues we see at this time include the following:
Listed species.

A preliminary report from Mr. Frank Hovore, biological

consultant, indicates the presence or potential presence of such species. Of
5 -1

Environmental and Regulatory Issucs

primary concern is the least Bell' s vireo.

If the species is present, and its

habitat is not directly affected by any earth moving, mitigation may consist of
limiting construction and maintenance activities to the months when the bird

is not present, October through February.
River flow.

The project will divert approximately 20 mgd from an
The flow will re- enter the river

approximately three mile reach the Santa Ana River, reducing the flow by
20 mgd in that a reach of the river.
downstream of the WEP.

The impacts on water quality, river hydrology and

biology, beneficial or adverse, of altering river flow in that reach, will need
to be addressed in the environmental document.

The temporary impacts on local recreational use - h - orse and hiking trails, etc.
not expected to be significant.

Permits needed for the project will likely include the following. This is a preliminary list,
there may be other permits not listed below:

Agency:
Jurisdiction:

U. S. Army Corps of Engineers

Dredging or filling in a water of the U.S.
Section 404 or Nationwide permit, wetlands delineation.

Permit/Agreement:
Documentation:

Permit Application and supporting information
NEPA document: EA or EIS or categorical exemption.

Note: Corps consults with USFWS ( see below).

May be exempted for this project because of its nature.

5 -2

Environmental and Regulatory Issues

Agency:
Jurisdiction:

U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Federally Listed and Threatened or Endangered Species/ Habitats.

Permit Agreement:

Section 7 Consultation for projects receiving federal funding or
approval which may affect T or E species;
Section 10

Consultation for non -federal projects. If impacts are expected,
preparation of a Habitat Conservation Plan. ( Per federal

Endangered Species Act)
Documentation: NEPA document.

Only category 2 candidates found in the area to date, but the habitat is suitable for
listed species.

Agency:
Jurisdiction:

California Department of Fish and Game

Flora and Fauna of California, biological habitat

Permit/Agreement:
Documentation:

Stream Alteration Agreement ( Section 1601/ 1603)

CEQA document and/ or project report identifying activities that
may affect stream flow, stream bed, biologic habitat.

Agency:
Jurisdiction:

California Department of Fish and Game

State Listed Threatened or Endangered Species

Permit/Agreement:

Consultation on Potential Impacts of a project on a listed
species or its habitat. ( per California Endangered Species Act).

Documentation:

CEQA document and/ or project report.

Agency:

California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Santa Ana
Region

Jurisdiction:

Discharges to Waters of the U. S.

5 -3
i

Environmental and Regulatory Issues

Permit Agreement:

NPDES permit modification. Project will change the location

and quality of discharge via implementation of a wetlands
treatment process.

Note: the Regional Board will consult with

the Department of Fish and Game.
Documentation:

CEQA document and permit application.

5 -4

CHAPTER 6

OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE

The system of wetlands ponds for both the pilot and full scale project are designed to be operated in either parallel, series, or a combination of both. The irrigation channels and the

planned system of flow control and diversion structures provide the flexibility for many flow
control scenarios.

WATER QUALITY OPERATIONS

The wetlands will be operated to ensure the most reliable nitrogen removal efficiency. Water
will flow through the wetland ponds in combined pattern of parallel and series operation.

The actual pattern of which will be based on operational experience gained during pilot
testing and full scale operation of the system.
time,

Nitrogen loading rates, hydraulic retention

flow through velocity,

wetlands depth, and other parameters will be factors in

determining the flow arrangement for the system.

WETLANDS CELL MAINTENANCE

The system is designed so that small portions can be periodically taken out of service for
maintenance. It is anticipated that every three to five years, the ponds will have to be drained
to thin the wetlands vegetation of the shallow marsh ponds and to till the bottoms of ponds
designed to percolate.

It may be required on a less frequent basis, every seven to ten years, -

to drain ponds and remove nutrient latent bottom sediments.

6 -1

i

Operation and Maintenance

ROUTINE SITE MAINTENANCE

The pond dikes and the other areas around the WEP site will be mowed routinely to maintain
clear access to ponds.
significant rainfall.

The pond dikes will be check at least quarterly and after periods of

Any flood damaged found will be repaired.

MOSQUITO CONTROL

Mosquito control is a very important aspect of the operation of the WEP. Wetlands are a

natural breeding ground for mosquitos. The Northwest Mosquito Abatement District will be
contacted to discuss their requirements for mosquito control. Their normal methods will be

used provided they don' t adversely affect the operation of the wetlands from a water quality
stand point.

If they do, alternative control measured will be worked out.

Regardless of the requirements of the mosquito abatement district, mosquito fish (Gambusia) will be stocked in the ponds.

These fish are present in the existing wetlands and provide

effective mosquito control particularly= during the summer months when the water
temperatures are high.

PUBLIC USE

Public use is one of the primary benefits of the WEP. With a continuous supply of tertiary
treated effluent, the wetlands in the HVWA will provide excellent habitat for fish, water fowl,
and other wildlife.

The area around the ponds will be kept mowed and a system of trails

developed and maintained around and through the site. The public will be able to fish, hike,

and horseback ride around the site and enjoy a quiet, natural surrounding. Day use facilities
and rest rooms will be constructed and maintained at the site.

6 -2

Operation and Maintenance

SECURITY

With the public having access to the site, security of the site will be an important concern.
Certain portions of the site may be determined off limits to the public. Fencing and gates
will be installed to control access into these areas. Flow control and measurement facilities

will also be protected from tampering and vandalism.

6 -3
0

CHAPTER 7

IMPLEMENTATION PLAN

The project will be implemented in two phases. Phase I is the development of a 55 to 70
acre the project which will treat 5 to 10 mgd.

Phase I is part of a wetlands enhancement

project funded by Caltrans and combines the restoration and enhancement of existing
wetlands with a pilot testing program to evaluate total inorganic nitrogen removal in the
wetlands.

Phase II is expansion of the Phase I project into the full scale project which will

treat up to 40 mgd. The data collected from the pilot testing in Phase I will be used to
determine the area required to treat 40 mgd in Phase H.
For both Phase I and II, the

emphasis is on restoration of existing wetlands in the Hidden Valley Wildlife Area and not
the creation of new wetlands.

The overall project schedule is driven in part by the compliance deadline of the NPDES

permit. The Phase I project should be on -line, ready to treat flow by May 1, 1995.
the permit requirements.

With the

combined in plant and wetlands denitrification capabilities, the plant should be able to meet

Phase II will, however, follow closely behind Phase I to provide

optimum nitrogen control reliability.

Given the permit deadline of May 1, 1995, there are only 22 months available to construct
the Phase I project and have it ready for operation. Plans are to start construction of the

wetlands improvements for Phase I by the winter of 1994 and to have start-up the system by
late summer of the same year.

Pilot testing will begin as soon as start-up is completed and

will continue on after the May 1, 1995 permit compliance deadline.

Design of Phase II will begin after sufficient data has been collected from pilot studies to
determine the wetlands requirements to treat 40 mgd. It is anticipated that design of the full -

scale system will begin by late summer 1995, construction will begin by the winter of 1996,
and start -up of the full-scale system will be completed by late fall 1996.
7 -1

Implementation Plan

The major tasks of the project schedule are presented in Table 7 -1. A more detailed time line

schedule will be developed as the scope of the project is refined and based on input from the
agencies involved with the project.

J,

Input from the Regional Water Quality Control Board

from a permit compliance standpoint and from the United States Army Corps of Engineers
from a construction permits standpoint can have a significant effect on the schedule.

It is important to realize the factors that will affect the actual project schedule.

Because the

project site lies within a wildlife area, the migration and breeding of wildlife area will affect
construction activities at the site. The State Fish and Game Commission will not allow construction during certain times of the year. Being in the flood plain of the Santa Ana

River, weather can affect completion of construction. Construction activities during the rainy
season (

November through April)

will likely be affected by rainy weather and possibly

flooding of the river.

The Regional Water Quality Control Board must review and approve plans for the City to
develop the wetlands in the Hidden Valley Area as a wastewater treatment process.
Timeliness of their review and approval will affect the design of the project. Construction

and environmental permits required for the project by the Corps of Engineers and other
agencies can affect the construction schedule for both Phase I and II.

7 -2

G
ca

a
c t

m
3 C m

a

E

m

L

EXHIBIT

E

EXHIBIT E

Hidden Valley Wetlands and Educational Project

1.

Staffing Costs:
1 Full Time Ranger II, Benefits Included $ 1 Full Time Naturalist, Benefits Included * ( Optional at 3 years)
TOTAL $

45, 027

38, 590
83, 617

II.

Goods and Services

Vehicle $ Uniforms

5, 000
250

Printing
Special Dept. expenses ( misc)

1, 500 4, 500 1, 200

House Keeping
Maintenance of Grounds Professional Services
TOTAL $

1, 000
4, 000
17,450

III.

Utilities for One Year ( utilities after overhead)

10,900
20,213
GRAND TOTAL $

IV.

Overhead at 20 %

132, 180

Option can be reviewed in three years from the executed date of the Agreement. If
the program is deemed successful, the one full time naturalist position will continue

to be maintained

1

Payment Options

Exhibit E Continued

I.

Five ( 5) Year ( or Term) Declining Fund @ $ 132, 180
701, 759

3% inflation factor

II.

Endowment 3. 4 million

III.

Straight Annual Budget ( Pay as you go)
132, 180

Current CPI)

N

RIVERSIDE COUNTY

Regional Park And Open Space District
4600 Crestmore Road • P.O. Box 3507 • Riverside. CA 92519 3507 • ( 714) 27
Fax (71 q

PAUL D. ROMERO
General Manager

July 7, 1994
Gail McPhearson, Manager

Riverside Water Quality Control Plant
5950 Acorn Street

Riverside, CA 92503
Dear Gail:

Ridden Valley Arundo Removal Project " Aft and " B"

The following is our proposal to remove Arundo from up to 50 acres at Hidden Valley as
part of your wetlands enhancement project.

The areas are broken into site " A" and " B." Site A is a 15 -acre area along the boundary of the project and site B is a 35 -acre area within the remainder of the

northern
site.

We

will use both hand labor and machinery to remove the cane.
The cost per acre for site A is $ 4, 000 and site B is $ 5, 500. The total cost of the project is 252, 500. The project includes: cutting the cane, removing biomass ( burning and
shredding),

spraying EPA approved herbicide ( Rodeo) for two years to combat the regrowth,

monitoring the regrowth and removing new cane.

be used.

The difference in price per acre is because Project A is easier to remove and machinery will
Project B will be done with more hand labor.

We will also assist you to find trees ( pole cuttings) to paint as part of the revegetation project, provide native trees from the area, paint them and help protect the new trees and
replant, where necessary.
term maintenance.

Assistance refers to our joint efforts and that the Park District will

not be solely responsible for all aspects of the revegetation element of the project or longRevegetation is time consuming and will require a coordinated effort.

Please understand that this proposal is not part of Team Arundo and the cost per acre is
for a five year commitment. The planning and experience for removal of cane is a direct offshoot of the Team effort. We may also call on members to assist us with
the project.

normally $ 15, 000

To acquire. protect, develop, manage and interpret for the inspiration, use and enjoyment of am people,
a well -balanced system of areas of outstanding scenic, recreation
and historic importance,"

Gail McPherson

July 7, 1994

Page 2

Please verify when you can so we can mobilize for next month' s starting date.
Supervisors.

We will need

an agreement that must go to our County Counsel and then accepted by the Board of Also, time is of the essence in order to get our staff lined up.

with you on this important project.

If you have questions, please call me at 909/ 275 -4312. I am looking forward to working

Sincerely,

Paul Frandsen

Assistant General Manager Operations & Natural Resources

PF /mg
c : \alpdoc s \arundo\ mcphersn l . itr

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful