Mid-summer always marks the annual acceleration of annual field work operations to restore water diversion channels and perform routine vegetation and infrastructure maintenance to get the Wash ready for a new season of rainfall and snowmelt later in the year.
The last of this year's California gnatcatcher surveys were recently completed, with the focus soon shifting to the monitoring of the endangered San Bernardino kangaroo rat. These threatened and endangered species are among many native plants and animals being protected in the Wash. The monitoring, outlined as a part of the Upper Santa Ana River Wash Habitat Conservation Plan, is being rolled out in cooperation with several regulatory agencies to ensure that all applicable monitoring protocols are met.
Northern California residents, from those living by the Bay to those living on lake houseboats, are coming under threat as a severe drought continues to intensify. Nearly two million people in the San Francisco Bay Area have been placed under a water shortage emergency as the state grapples with worsening drought conditions. Mandatory water restrictions have been issued for Santa Clara County as officials said the move is necessary to combat low water supply.
Krystian Lahage, field representative to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, paid a visit to the region to hear about plans to improve water capture, and to catch up on the recent progress of the Upper Santa Ana River Wash Habitat Conservation Plan. San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District is asking for the Senator's help in getting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to support using Seven Oaks Dam to benefit water conservation projects locally and downstream, like at Prado Dam. Water is a precious and critical resource to Southern California, and this plan will make the most of the tax dollars spent to construct Seven Oaks Dam. Legislation introduced by Feinstein and signed into law in 2019 was instrumental in the Wash Plan, and we hope her support kick starts more cooperative use of these expensive facilities for the region.
A provisional part of the Upper Santa Ana River Wash Habitat Conservation Plan includes a comprehensive Trail Management Plan that may include as many as a dozen local trails for residents to enjoy. Part of this plan includes the completion of a vital link completing a 110-mile course for the Santa Ana River Trail from the beaches to the mountains. Staff has been working with area partners on the early phases of the plan. There's still a lot of work to do, but once finished, the plan will provide plenty of opportunity for residents to escape and enjoy the beauty of the Wash.