A scarce resource: Water

It has come to my attention lately, that publications – of all kinds – are talking about water.  Now, I know some publications have been talking about water and its scarcity for sometime now, but, many other publications outside of engineering, plant needs, agriculture, etc. are starting to really focus on the resource.  For example, I was reading my publication insert for the U.S. Open Golf Tournament coming up in San Francisco…and there’s an article titled No More Free Drops in this publication (article reference to come shortly).  This is a golfer publication, and there is an article about water use and water scarcity.  Impressive.

Michael Cook, Vice President of Planning & Landscape Architecture has been involved in landscape plant water use for some time now.  He assisted at the State level with our current Model Water Efficient Landscape Water Ordinance (MWELO) and locally, with the Santa Rosa MWELO ordinance.  He is also involved in a recent trend to try to develop a national standard for water use calcuations and determining plant water use requirements, etc.  Please see the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) issue x623 at http://www.asabe.org/standards/x623-project-update.aspx, and you can see this isn’t just a local or state issue.  This is really a national and international issue.

With the USGA article, by Evan Rothman, it just goes to prove that this is much more than just a landscape issue.  This is a worldwide issue on so many levels.  We need to start locally, but really end up acting globally.  Our landscapes need to use less water, our developments and human habitats need to start using less water, and the technology is there, it just needs to be implemented.

Please follow Firma Design Group as we delve further into this issue in future posts.  We truly hope to be able to help you with our expertise in water issues (potable, non-potable), stormwater and much more.

Redevelopment project solutions

We’ve worked on a lot of redevelopment projects, and while each was unique, all shared one trait – the necessary site improvements were always more than what everyone thought they’d be at first glance.  Any project with a public component often requires ADA upgrades.  And both public and private jobs might also trigger stormwater quality control measures (aka, bio-retention of stormwater), and a desire to improve vehicular turning movements – especially on compact sites.

New ADA paths of travel can present quite the challenge if the site is sloped at all, and steps were used for entry/exit.  Generally, except for service/delivery only entrances, all entries and exits must be ADA accessible.

Improving vehicular turning movements can be painless.  We have CAD software that actually tracks vehicular movements so you can see what your car (or a standard car, or a fire truck) can accomplish, and this allows you to set locations for curbs, walls, and landscaping.

Each City and County in the Bay Area has their own requirements, and Firma Design Group is happy to help you sort through them and assist you or your design team.

Mike Cook named Young Professional of the Year by Petaluma YPN

Last evening, Mike Cook, Vice President of Planning and Landscape Architecture at Firma Design Group was awarded the Young Professional of the Year by the Petaluma Young Professionals Network.  Mike Harris, City Councilmember in Petaluma, was the emcee and Nicole Smartt of Star Staffing, Chair of Petaluma YPN handed out the awards.  It was a wonderful evening and we’re so proud of Mike for his community and professional work that led to being awarded this honor.  Please see the following links:




We thank Petaluma YPN for this wonderful honor and look forward to working with them more in the future.