North Natomas is a unique community within the City of Sacramento that features rural surroundings, open spaces, and wetland habitats all within minutes of the busy downtown area. An extensive system of drainage canals and stormwater detention basins have been built to drain this natural flood plain, provide flood protection, maintain water quality, and at the same time provide aesthetic amenities to the community.
Street drains carry water directly from street gutters into the local detention basins and then into the Sacramento River. Although these basins will filter out pollutants, the water is not treated or cleaned. The detention basins are not sewers.
In October 2001, the CIWMB (now known as the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, or CalRecycle) in coordination with the City of Sacramento, received a Pollution Prevention Incentives for States grant for $50,000 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to conduct an integrated multi-media pollution prevention outreach program in the City's newly developing North Natomas area. The grant required a match of $15,000 in funds from CalRecycle and in-kind staff services from the State and City partners of $35,000 for a total of $100,000. The grant provided funding through October 2004.
The transfer of pollutants across all environmental media coming from urban landscape management practices were addressed in this program. Activities focused on developing landscape design/water use guidelines and distributing educational materials to promote the use of environmentally beneficial landscape management practices that will prevent stormwater pollution from toxic chemicals, prevent runoff and conserve water, and reduce the flow of greenwaste debris into the storm drain system. Outreach activities were directed at new homeowners and professional landscapers working on publicly supervised landscapes sites or commercial and residential properties in North Natomas.
- Develop North Natomas Plant Spacing Guidelines. Plant spacing guidelines for new plantings of trees and shrubs were developed for incorporation into the North Natomas Development Guidelines for use on new residential, commercial, or public landscape plantings in the North Natomas area. Also, water budget data and on-site watering practices guidelines were established for use on publicly maintained sites.
- Prepare and Distribute Informational Materials to Homeowners. Educational and promotional materials were prepared and distributed to new homeowners at locally sponsored outreach activities and events in the North Natomas area. These materials included information on the following topics: local green waste diversion and source reduction opportunities; design features and installation techniques for low-maintenance, drought tolerant, waste efficient landscapes; environmentally friendly landscape maintenance practices; and using urban-derived organic materials in landscape applications.
- Coordinate Educational Outreach for Professional Landscapers. Outreach events and activities directed at local professional landscapers were implemented and coordinated with allied public and private sector agencies, as well as distribution of appropriate educational materials that promoted waste/water efficient landscape maintenance practices and green material diversion options.
- Compile Report and Publish Results. A final report was prepared and distributed to all stakeholders after all program tasks had been completed. The report described and discussed all activities undertaken to achieve the stated program objectives. An assessment and evaluation was made on the effectiveness of these activities in promoting the use of environmentally beneficial landscape management practices and reducing green waste generation in the North Natomas area.