UC Santa Barbara has received a Best Practice Award in the annual Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Awards competition sponsored by the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference.

UCSB was a winner in the category of Water Efficiency & Site Water Quality for its San Nicolas wetland and library mall storm drain project. The storm drain replacement is part of the campus’s infrastructure construction project to replace antiquated utility lines and drains along a corridor that runs from the lagoon to Campbell Hall, on the north end of campus. The project, which includes more than 20,000 square feet of permeable pavers, began last September and will be completed this summer.

The San Nicolas wetland restoration project was guided by UCSB’s Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration, with the support of the Associated Students Coastal Fund. The main portion of the site has been transformed from a large area of invasive Kikuyu grass and weeds to a diverse landscape with more than 36 native species of plants. More than 2,500 plants were installed in the area, which will help absorb water runoff from the campus mesa to the lagoon below.

“This project reflects a campus commitment to integrating best management practices for handling storm water with all campus projects, and showcases the interrelationships between UCSB’s mesa location and surrounding coastal habitats,” said Marc Fisher, senior associate vice chancellor, administrative services.

UCSB shares the Water Efficiency & Site Water Quality award with UC Davis and Mira Costa College. UCSB won for site water quality, while UC Davis was the winner for water efficiency for its Brewery, Winery, and Food Processing Complex. Mira Costa was honored for its Horticulture Rainwater Harvesting program.

Representatives from UCSB will receive the award at the annual California Higher Education Sustainability Conference, July 10-13, at California State University, Long Beach. At that time, UCSB sustainability representatives will make a presentation about their award-winning program.


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