Paul Frank from FlowWest will be speaking next week at the 16th International Conference on Wetland Systems for Water Pollution Control (ICWS) in Valencia, Spain! In 2014, he presented FlowWest’s Khirbet Kanafar Wetland System in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon at the 14th ICWS in Shanghai, and in 2010, he led the 12th ICWS’s technical tour of the 250-acre Fusina Wetlands near Venice which he designed between 2006-2010.
This year, Paul will be talking about FlowWest’s work to improve water quality in the Salinas Valley and Monterey Bay in California. The Salinas Valley produces more than 50% of the USA’s salad greens and generates an agricultural economy greater than $8 billion per year. These agricultural activities generate some of the greatest nutrient (especially nitrogen) and agricultural pollution loads in the USA, which drain into the Salinas River via a network of agricultural drainage canals. Depending on seasonal conditions, the agricultural pollution from the Salinas River can cause a so-called “dead zone” of hypoxia in the Monterey Bay.
FlowWest is working with the Resource Conservation District of Monterey County (RCD) to develop innovative, natural water treatment systems that remove nutrients and other chemicals from agricultural drainage before it reaches the Salinas River. Much of the lower Salinas Valley’s agricultural runoff makes its way to the River via the Blanco Drain, a canal that intercepts drainage from 6,400 acres of fields. During 2017, FlowWest designed two biologically-based systems that could fit either on unused farmland adjacent to the Drain, or within the Drain itself. Two of these systems are set to be built next year.