Commuters who travel along Gale Avenue in the City of Industry may notice that Fire Station 118 has undergone major landscape improvements.
This station, which is also home to the East Regional Operations Bureau, sits on 22,000 square feet of landscaped area, which until recently, included a sprawling green lawn. With California experiencing unprecedented drought conditions for the fourth consecutive year, station personnel began asking for assistance in maintaining the property.
Due to its size, Fire Station 118 was soon identified to undergo re-landscaping as part of a pilot program.
With full support from Forestry management, the San Dimas Forestry Unit took the lead in the design and oversight of this project.
“Forestry personnel worked with (Internal Services Department) staff on daily site visits and spot checks with the contract vendor,” Forestry Division Assistant Chief Michael Y. Takeshita said. “This ensured quality control over the various stages of this project.”
Removing the existing turf and replacing it with low-maintenance, drought-tolerant plants was the first priority. Careful consideration was also given to the architecture of the building to determine which plants would be aesthetically pleasing.
Ultimately, South African native succulents—including species of aloe vera and agave—were selected for the new landscape. Trees were replaced one for one with tree-like plants.
Before the renovation, the white walls surrounding the station were covered with English ivy. Removal of the ivy uncovered stains left by the roots on the walls. Division 8 officials met with city management to discuss the improvement project, which ties in to the city’s water conservation plan. As a result, the City of Industry graciously offered to help with the final touch—painting the walls.
Forestry personnel also updated the irrigation system. Sprinklers were moved two feet away from any concrete or asphalt surface that did not absorb water; nozzles were installed on the sprinklers to cut water use by one-third. New permeable yet decorative walkways were placed throughout the front of the station to help eliminate water run-off.
Additionally, an irrigation timer, known as a “smart controller,” was installed and will be used as an onsite weather station. The controller measures rain and will shut down the sprinkler system if rain begins. It also measures light intensity and will reduce water use on less sunny or cloudy days.
The change is estimated to create a water savings of up to 65 percent. The grounds will now only require one hour of watering every three weeks; the lawn, on the other hand, required watering four times a week for 15 minutes.
With the success of the water conservation project at Fire Station 118, Forestry is working with jurisdictional assistant fire chiefs to find projects for the fiscal year 2015-16, Takeshita said.
Featured image: Deputy Forester Jon Baker, Division 8 acting Assistant Fire Chief Troy Flath, City of Industry Mayor Mark Radecki and City of Industry Councilman Newell Ruggles stand in front of Fire Station 118 and its newly renovated landscape. Photo by Nicole Mooradian.