Our Watersheds: Pathway to the Pacific
Opened as part of the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California.
This exhibit, reflecting the Aquarium’s largest addition since the Shark Lagoon, gives visitors the opportunity to learn more about local watersheds and how to protect them, as well as sustainable water use.
Our Watersheds: Pathway to the Pacific tells the story of the changing relationships of people within the San Pedro Bay drainage basin and their environment. Visitors can interact with a three-dimensional watershed model. In a water interactive portion, guests can “make it rain” on the watershed to learn about what happens to the water once it lands on our mountains and streets. Exhibit stations feature photos and interactive elements to assist in educating visitors about water resources and conservation.
The new addition is the first building in the city of Long Beach to receive a LEED Platinum rating—the highest LEED rating for a green design.
The watershed education classroom is designed to maximize the use of natural light and solar energy. It was built with recycled and other sustainable materials, and includes a native landscaped “green roof” with live vegetation. Innovative capacity planning will further assist the Aquarium in serving its current 1.4 million annual visitors while putting green solutions into practice, such as waterless urinals and dual flush toilets for this high-traffic attraction. The Aquarium’s conservation efforts are certain to serve as a model for energy-conscious activity for many years to come.
Water Conscious Design
Along with minimizing water use by landscaping the surrounding the area with Xeriscape, the aquarium uses a system to treat and minimize storm water runoff. The small amounts of stormwater runoff generated by the site enter drainage structures that are fitted with a filter system called the Grate Inlet Skimmer Box manufactured by Bio Clean Environmental Services, Inc. Used in thousands of projects across the country since 1994, this filter is designed to improve the quality of stormwater and provides 84% removal of the solid materials in run-off, referred to as total suspended solids (TSS), nutrients, hydrocarbons, trash & litter, and heavy metals. Runoff that is treated by the filter enters into an underground infiltration facility to allow the cleansed runoff to infiltrate back into the ground and recharge the ground water.