The Aquarium has announced plans for new Aquarium exhibits and programming that highlight the importance of watershed health and water conservation for sustainable communities and native wildlife habitats. California is entering the fifth consecutive year of a prolonged drought, and a drier climate coupled with reduced water imports and growing demand place increasing pressure on our water system. The Aquarium will be creating new watershed exhibits and programs to provide vital information for guests of all ages to help deal with California’s ongoing water crisis thanks to grant funding from the San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy (RMC.
RMC originally funded the construction of the Aquarium’s Watershed Exhibit and PREMIER Watershed Classroom in 2003 and 2007. Enhancing the entire watershed area at the Aquarium will include updating information, redesigning signage and the methods of information delivery to include digital displays, enriching the aesthetic qualities of the area, making connections to the new Butterfly Garden and Steelhead Exhibit, and upgrading and expanding the capacity of the PREMIER Watershed Classroom, Long Beach’s first LEED Platinum building.
Design for the upgrades and additional exhibit components will begin in summer 2016 with installation completed by spring 2017. The newly enhanced exhibit will provide a comprehensive platform where visitors can gain a greater understanding of the importance of watershed health and the impacts of water use on local people and native species. The project will update existing signage and add new signage and exhibit components at the Watershed exhibit; enhance and expand the capacity of the PREMIER Watershed Classroom; and enhance the aesthetics of the surrounding Watershed area.
The conceptual plan identifies new interactive exhibits that emphasize where our water comes from and how to conserve. As visitors enter from the Shark Lagoon area, the will see a display showing on a map of California where our water comes from with real-time data. Next they encounter the watershed interactive map and signage explaining the watershed concept. Moving counter-clockwise, there are exhibit features demonstrating how to transform lawns into California-friendly landscapes and how water gets to our tap at home. Next, visitors can learn about water use at home, both indoors and outdoors. On the far side of the interactive watershed map is an exhibit about runoff, recharging, and percolation, explaining where water goes after it reaches the ground as rainfall, irrigation, or otherwise. Finally, visitors can learn about our future water supply and the impact of plastic pollution at the exhibit stop near the PREMIER Watershed Classroom.