These ‘bioswales’ were built to help prevent flooding. Here’s how they fared in Bay Area storms

Jan 23, 2023 at 10:00am

John King

When San Francisco’s new Southeast Community Center opened in October, the three acres of parkland included an expansive landscaped bioswale that, in theory, would handle the water running off even the most extensive storm.

Less than a month later, the theory was put to the test — and it passed with flying colors.

The amount of runoff from the overall site was 45% below what it would have been before the project converted a former office site; on New Year’s eve, water cascaded through the site and filled the retention basin, but it never surged over its banks.

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