Aquarium of the Pacific Announces Plans for New Watershed Exhibit

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Aquarium of the Pacific

Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald Presents the Aquarium with $150,000 Grant from IMLS, while Metropolitan Water District Presents $75,000 to Fund New Watershed Project

Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald presented the Aquarium of the Pacific with its first competitive federal grant, $150,000 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The grant will help fund the Aquarium's new watershed exhibit. Larry Dick, vice chairman of Metropolitan Water District's Board of Directors, gave $75,000 on behalf of the district's City Makeover program toward the project.
Aquarium staff unveiled further plans in their watershed education project that will debut in 2007, including how the new funding will be used. The IMLS grant will fund the design and construction of a three-dimensional stream table representing a cross-section of the San Pedro Bay watersheds. The funding from Metropolitan will be used for the green roof on a new LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) platinum-certified education classroom and surrounding native landscaping throughout the watershed exhibit.
Through simulated effects in the stream table, Aquarium visitors will be able to trigger and watch storms, floods, droughts and water absorption. This display will be the centerpiece of a new exhibit on watersheds and will serve as a learning tool for the Aquarium's general visitors as well as for students in classroom and public programs. By demonstrating water's journey from the mountains to the sea, the new watershed exhibit will expand public knowledge and develop a deeper understanding of watershed and the effects on our environment.
The new classroom's green roof will work to reduce and delay storm water quantity runoffs, enhance the thermal performance of the building and create a pleasing visual appearance for the roof. The demonstration garden will be maintained using reclaimed water from a hand-washing station nearby and educate visitors and familiarize them with California's native plants.
"Watershed education is an important subject for California, to our health and that of our environment. The Aquarium of the Pacific plays a critical role in educating the public, and I commend them for their commitment to our environment and our communities," said Congresswoman Millender-McDonald.
"Our research shows that up to 70% of the water homeowners use is on their landscape," said Metropolitan's board Vice Chair Dick. "With limited supplies of imported water Southern California is looking for examples of how it can have a beautiful, lush and less thirsty front yard. The watershed garden at the Aquarium of the Pacific will offer a perfect canvas to showcase the beauty and environmental benefits of these landscapes."
"With support from IMLS, MWD, Rivers & Mountains Conservancy, Water Replenishment District and supervisor Don Knabe, the Aquarium will build a dynamic and interactive watershed exhibit, environmental education classroom and native plant garden, projected to open in early 2007," said Jerry Schubel, Aquarium of the Pacific president & CEO. The project will reveal the history and health of the San Gabriel and Los Angeles Rivers and their watersheds. These watersheds encompass Los Angeles and Orange Counties, which are home to over 13 million people and drain into the Pacific Ocean.
"The rain from recent storms has washed trash from throughout the Southland into our Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers, which flow to the ocean. In Long Beach at the mouth of the LA River, we have seen birds and fish amongst trash. Everything that does not get disposed of properly will eventually contribute to the pollution problem we currently face. The Aquarium's new watershed project will educate children and adults on this and other pressing topics to improve the future of our environment," said Dave Bader, Aquarium of the Pacific education specialist.

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