Dave Urban with EIP: “EIP could not have designed, permitted and constructed this project in record time without the help and hard work by the entire Blackburn staff- Thank you everyone!”
Environmental restoration and flood protection play a vital role in preserving and rehabilitating ecosystems and safety for future generations. In a significant step towards achieving this goal, Ecosystem Investment Partners (EIP) selected Blackburn Consulting as a partner to help design and construct one of the largest multi-benefit projects in California, the Lookout Slough Tidal HabitatRestoration and Flood Improvement Project (Lookout Slough THRFIP).
The Delta is an essential aquatic ecosystem that has experienced ecological degradation due to various factors such as pollution, habitat loss, and altered water flow patterns. EIP’s proposal to invest in the restoration of this important location underscores their commitment to mitigating environmental damage, preserving biodiversity and flood protection improvements in the Yolo Bypass. This project aims to rejuvenate the slough’s ecosystem, providing a healthier habitat for wildlife and promoting a balanced ecological equilibrium. The project includes an approximately 4-mile-long setback levee, replacing the existing fragile levee, which has seepage and stability deficiencies.
Blackburn’s experience in environmental restoration, flood control and geotechnical engineering equipped them with the tools needed to address the project’s unique challenges. Blackburn’s expertise helped ensure that the restoration and flood control efforts are not only safe and efficient but meet the requirements of the California Department of Water Resources and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Geotechnical design involved the evaluation of the subsurface conditions and providing design and construction recommendations for the new setback levee as well as improvements to existing slough embankments. This included the completion of 43 exploratory borings, 47 test pits, an extensive laboratory testing program and analysis including settlement, under-seepage, and stability. Blackburn assessed the subsurface conditions to determine the optimal approach for building the setback levee and slough embankment improvements using on-site soil excavated from the restoration channels. Final design included a seepage cutoff wall to mitigate the potential for detrimental near-surface seepage and uplift forces near the levee toe during high-water events.
Blackburn’s involvement in the construction phase of the restoration project is equally crucial. Their construction engineering and materials testing expertise came into play though effective and efficient implementation and documentation of the geotechnical designs. Blackburn’s services included Quality Assurance and Quality Control materials testing and inspection for levee embankment, slope flattening, access roads, and cutoff wall construction. Blackburn provided review and input of all geotechnical-related submittals and RFI’s.
**Environmental Impact and Community Benefits:**
The Lookout Slough THRFIP is not only about improving the ecosystem; it also has broader environmental and community implications. By restoring the natural habitat, the project will contribute to carbon sequestration, water purification, and flood mitigation. Additionally, a healthier ecosystem can promote eco-tourism and educational opportunities for local communities, fostering a deeper connection between people and nature. Equally as important, the flood control improvement component of the project will protect the areas to the north from devastating floods and provide more efficient passage of flood water through the Yolo Bypass.
The partnership between EIP and Blackburn for the Lookout Slough THRFIP is a significant step forward in the journey towards ecological preservation and flood control in the Yolo Bypass. Blackburn’s expertise in geotechnical design and construction services played a crucial role in bringing this ambitious restoration initiative to fruition. The Lookout Slough THRFIP holds the promise of reviving an ecosystem, increasing flood protection, and inspiring a collective commitment to safeguarding the environment for current and future generations.