WHPacific was the engineer in responsible charge of the planning, design, and construction of Sunset Pond for the Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority (SSCAFCA). This included development of the Black Arroyo Watershed Plan that identified the need for the Sunset Pond and the survey, public meetings, state and federal permitting coordination, construction design, plans and documents, and construction administration.
Sunset Pond is an earthen flood control pond located in a developing area upstream of an older area of Rio Rancho, providing 100-year flood protection for this downstream development. Major flood control elements include an 18 acre-foot detention pond, a naturalistic stone garden energy dissipater, and storm water quality controls at the pond’s storm drain outlet. The pond is part of a larger “Watershed Park” system planned in the Black Arroyo Watershed. The “Watershed Park” is a series of interconnected linear part systems SSCAFCA envisions placing in flood control right-of-way, extending from the Rio Grande to the top of the drainage divide with the Rio Puerco.
Sunset Pond creatively combines flood control and multi-use “Watershed Park” amenities – all without increasing the cost. The “Watershed Park” is the SSCAFCA’s vision of an interconnected system of trails, recreational facilities, open space, wildlife habitat and community amenities utilizing drainage right-of-way. To further enhance community value, the pond’s design included maintenance access for use as trails, naturalistic storm drainage structures, an aesthetic grading layout, native habitat restoration, open space protection, and a public education plaza. Sunset Pond provides flood protection for the 100-year storm event and dam safety for extreme precipitation events, protecting downstream developments and undersized facilities. The pond’s naturalistic elements, especially the “Storm Henge” Energy Dissipater, demonstrate that innovative drainage designs can be functional and attractive. This project represents an evolution in flood control facility design for SSCAFCA, and proved to be an effective and prudent investment of public funds.