The Public Sediment project team on the banks of Alameda Creek.

Public Sediment receives $31.4 million in state funding

The Bay Area’s tidal ecosystems are low on sediment, putting marshes and mudflats at risk for flooding. An interdisciplinary team, including CCA Architecture faculty, has proposed a creative solution: designing with mud and making sediment public.

Sediment: The building block of resilience

Public Sediment for Alameda Creek, a collaborative project developed by an interdisciplinary team that includes Architectural Ecologies Lab directors Adam Marcus, Margaret Ikeda, and Evan Jones, has received $31.4 million in implementation funding from the State of California. On September 26, the team joined state Senator Bob Wieckowski and project partners for a ceremonial check presentation event on the banks of Alameda Creek.

The project was developed within the framework of the Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenge, a year-long research and design initiative in 2017–2018 that explored new design approaches to sea level rise and climate change.

The Public Sediment project, a master plan proposal for the lower watershed of Alameda Creek in Fremont, Newark, and Union City, is based on the premise that sea level rise adaptation must happen upstream in addition to along the shoreline. The project’s primary goal is to recalibrate sediment flows along the creek, enhancing the delivery of sediment to the marshes and Baylands while enhancing social connectivity in the surrounding urban areas and habitats for migrating steelhead trout native to the area. The Architectural Ecologies Lab team led the development of a central component of the proposal, the Living Levee. The Living Levee is a multibenefit strategy for revetment design that integrates ecological principles within an interlocking concrete module that helps limit erosion and support the surrounding ecosystem by providing habitats for both human and nonhuman species.

The Public Sediment team is led by SCAPE Landscape Architecture and includes Arcadis, The Dredge Research Collaborative, TS Studio, UC Davis Department of Human Ecology and Design, Cy Keener, and Architectural Ecologies Lab. The project was developed in close collaboration with the Alameda County Flood Control and Water Conservation District and other local partners and agencies.