Storms in early November have increased streamflow throughout the system as we approach the end of the calendar year. Mill Creek is flowing at about 15 to 17 cubic feet per second (or up to 7,650 gallons per minute) and so far has totaled just over 600 acre feet for the new water year. Seven Oaks Dam continues to flow at about 5 cubic feet per second at the Parshall Flume, with the rest of the flow going to direct use. Santa Ana River recharge totals are at 485 acre feet since October, and total recharge for the year is approximately 1,100 acre feet if flows continue.
The SBVWCD Board of Directors issued a proclamation commemorating the distinguished service of former board member Clare Henry Day, who turned 100 this month. Day served on the board for 18 years from 1995 to 2013, and provided valuable expertise in water and public policy issues on a state, local and federal level.
In preparation for a new season of rain and snow, the District has been busy putting the finishing touches on new habitat in the Plunge Creek area. This includes the revegetation of the endangered woolly star, and other seed spreading being conducted by the Inland Empire Resource Conservation District. Special care is being taken to prepare for higher-than-normal levels of sediment and floating debris in flows coming from land scorched in recent brush fires.
With habitat restoration well underway, District staff has been finalizing land transfers and leases that will allow mining to continue on disturbed lands in the Wash, while preserving more pristine spaces for habitat conservation and water recharge.
Ash and charred debris from wildfires can take a toll on local watersheds. A recent fire in the Mill Creek spreading grounds scorched trees, but left other sections untouched.
Nature removes nitrates and sediment caused from fire through plant absorption and filtration as water seeps underground, but the impacts on wetland habitat can still be devastating.