Swales and bioswales are ditches that capture water. A bioswale is a swale with bio or life added which causes water to move faster through the soil. Beautiful Bioswales https://www.facebook.com/Beautiful-Swales-999988803354733/ is a project of Transition Pasadena and Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition. Our goal is “more bioswales everywhere”. Each swale that is seen can inspire the next swale. For example, in Sierra Madre, a City Council member saw a swale nearby and said, “Why not at City Hall?” and now there are swales at City Hall!
We are all glad that Beautiful Bioswales has connected so many like-minded people. We are forging bonds with other groups and starting projects left and right. You can get involved with Beautiful Bioswales in many different ways.
Water LA https://www.waterla.org/ will soon start parkway swale projects in Altadena. Some lucky homeowners in Altadena will have swales installed for free as part of the free workshops, which we can all attend. The project will improve our watershed without major public works. Instead the project empowers residents. Using public money contractors help home owners who will work together on one whole block. Learn more: We hope to have April Cerrato from Water LA at our next Beautiful Bioswales meeting.
Because there are federal regulations and fines regarding pollution, we are proposing solutions and providing volunteers to help Pasadena meet legal guidelines. Swales will help remove pollutants. Did you know that California has been in violation of federal mandates for 20 years? Local cities are paying fines every year and they pass that cost on to us. And we have been dumping our pollution in the ocean. Enough!
We speak up for bioswales. At a public meeting recently, many Beautiful Bioswales members spoke with city representatives in support of adding bioswales along with the bike lanes planned for Cordova Street. Thanks team!
Pasadena Water and Power (PWP) wants a list of local bioswale locations. We have started this list, so please send in locations of bioswales you notice. When we have a list we could do a bike tour and visit a bunch of them. PWP is developing signs for customers who have retrofitted their landscapes to showcase features--drought tolerance, irrigation efficiency, rainwater capture-- they have incorporated. Let’s help develop these signs.
WE VOTED. We are in unanimous support of building swales at schools. Leigh Adams remarked that a good swale should be child friendly. And we have a working group on getting grants to do these bigger swale projects. They will seek funding from groups like Trust for Public Land.
You can build bioswales! Make shallow depressions in your garden which will hold water. Rainwater will slowly infiltrate into the soil as the plants, mulch and soil naturally remove any pollutants.
If you are ready to try some water capture on your own, check out this amazing Water LA report https://www.waterla.org/resources/water-la-reports which shows sample projects in the San Fernando Valley illustrating swale-building techniques including curb cuts and tells how the projects affected their water bills.
If you want some help, we recommend a related three-session course by one of our members, Shawn Maestretti. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/three-part-california-native-garden-design-with-shawn-maestretti-beginning-saturday-june-1-registration-52624449144 and a related workshop series by another of our members, Jadene Mayla. https://www.arboretum.org/events/aesthetics-of-ecology/
And since you are interested in water capture, you should also know that the PWP is hosting a Laundry To Landscape Greywater Workshop Feb. 27.
Welcome to Beautiful Bioswales!