- Location: Keeler, California
- Owner: Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District
- Engineer(s): AMEC Environment & Infrastructure, Inc.
- Contract Type: Fixed Unit Price (negotiated)
- Status: December 2017
To reduce the dust levels in and around the small town of Keeler, California, the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District took the lead in stabilizing the Keeler Sand Dune system. Similar to the adjacent Owens Valley, the Keeler area is prone to dust storms, many of which have resulted in air quality violations since much of the area’s water was diverted to Los Angeles in the 1920s. Working with the Bureau of Land Management, Keeler residents, and local tribes, the District devised a low impact approach to enhance the vegetation in the Keeler Sand Dune area by mimicking the vegetation patterns of a nearby stabilized dune system. Challenges they confronted in addition to the remoteness of the site included limited access to avoid harming existing natural vegetation and culturally sensitive areas. The group embarked on this effort with the planting and nurturing of vegetation that was then transplanted to the site in late 2014.
As the selected contractor, Barnard transplanted the vegetation and installed an irrigation system to nourish the plant life. Acknowledging that the entire area is deemed “culturally sensitive,” Barnard followed a plan that included using light-duty tracked equipment to pull trailers laden with straw bales, which were placed as wind breaks in advance of the vegetation. The tracked equipment helped to avoid getting stuck in the challenging, changing soils. Once access and staging areas were established, High Density Polyethylene Pipe (HDPP) was fused together to form a seamless conveyance pipe. The pipe was laid on the ground to be covered by sand from wind events over time. Once the pipe was in place, Barnard installed a booster pump in the Keeler Community Services District well and connected the system to water. Barnard assisted in the maintenance of the system through 2017.