The Santa Ana River watershed is the largest in Southern California, and is one of the region’s most important natural resources. Through scientific analysis, planning, public outreach, and policy and legal advocacy, the project’s overall goal is to protect and maintain the integrity of the interlocking natural components of the Santa Ana River watershed ecosystem. Grant funds will support promoting water quality and riparian habitat protections related to proposed multiple large-scale development projects, including the Harmony Housing Development – a proposed development project which would promote urban sprawl and increased stormwater runoff at the confluence of the Santa Ana River and Mill Creek, one of the Santa Ana’s main headwaters tributaries, directly adjacent to San Bernardino National Forest lands. The goal of this element is to push Harmony’s developers towards establishing sustainable wildlife corridors for animals to move safely between the Santa Ana River, Mill Creek, and adjacent San Bernardino National Forest; these wildlife corridors would also help capture and infiltrate rainfall and exiting runoff, maintaining existing hydrological regimes which benefit downstream water quality and flow rates. Additional activities center around ensuring that the Seven Oaks Dam, a major flood control dam located in the upper Santa Ana River watershed, is operated in a way that lives up to its commitments to protect and enhance wildlife and fish populations downstream of the dam and return more natural hydrology and flows to the river. Finally, the project is pushing the San Bernardino Water Department to maintain at least 35-40 cubic feet per second of water below water treatment plants during the dry season (a minimum flow range required to maintain water temperature and hydrological health determined through extensive modeling by USGS).
Center for Biological Diversity
Saving the Santa Ana River
California Watershed Protection Fund, 2018
Water Resources/Watershed Protection
Riverside County ; San Bernardino County