The San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District has entered into an agreement with Steps 4 Life to provide transitional housing in this Mentone home in exchange for establishing a homeless policy for the district and training for its employees.
Homelessness in the Upper Santa Ana Wash area and at district headquarters increasingly impedes the ability of SBVWCD employees to do their job and to protect endangered species.
So, this year, the district took a new approach to dealing with area homelessness and created a partnership with the Redlands-based nonprofit Steps 4 Life Community Services to provide them with housing. In exchange, the nonprofit will help the district establish a homeless policy and employee training program.
Steps 4 Life has a successful track record of providing transitional supportive housing in the Redlands area. Its goal is to make a difference in improviing the self-sufficiency of its clients, and to reduce the recidivism that homelessness often presents to veterans, suvivors of domestic violence, individuals in recovery, single parents and individuals with mental health issues.
The four-bedroom house provided through the agreement is located next to the district's field office. Residents there will be able to take advantage of opportunities to work in the wash as part of their transitional programming. That means if the district needs to hire someone to do something, it will have a pool of skilled workers right next door. That makes it a win-win for everyone.
Collaboration is oftentimes difficult in the water industry, especially where habitats are concerned. But by working thoughtfully together, we can more efficiently meet the water and habitat needs of our region. This year, our dedication to collaboration paid off for the communities we serve in new and powerful ways. Find out how in our newly released 2018 Annual Report.
Manuel Colunga, field operations supervisor for the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District, was awarded this year's CalPERS Spotlight on Excellence Award —- an honor bestowed each year on one outstanding public servant in state of California.
The award was presented Oct. 22 at the California Public Employees’ Retirement System’s Education Forum in Indian Wells. A video, paying tribute to Colunga’s work and volunteerism in the community, was posted on the CalPERS website alongside past recipients of the award.
“The efforts of public servants often go unnoticed, even as they work diligently behind the scenes to educate us, protect us, keep us healthy, and provide essential services and infrastructure,” CalPERS stated on its website. “That’s why we created the CalPERS Spotlight on Excellence award.”
In his role at the District, Colunga keeps watch over the 18 miles of canals, 26 miles of roads and 73 recharge basins he patrols daily with his small team within the San Bernardino Valley Wash. As a steward of the land and the water, it’s his job to watch the skies, anticipate water flows, reshape contours of the earth and capture water — recharging it into the groundwater basin that serves the San Bernardino Valley region.
Colunga is also a committed member of the community. He has volunteered as a trainer for the Redlands YMCA Youth Circus for more than 18 years.
“Manuel is an exceptional person, and we are extremely lucky to have him on our team and helping out in our community,” said SBVWCD General Manager Daniel Cozad. “From the standpoint of doing what’s right and helping others, he clearly exemplifies the values and principles of public service in all his professional and personal interactions.”
Inland Empire Districts to Form Partnership to Enhance Water Reliability
REDLANDS, Calif. (Sept. 11, 2018) —The boards of the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District and San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District voted Monday to pursue a partnership agreement that will draw from the best of both districts to promote a brighter future for groundwater storage and the protection of threatened species in this region.
In a rare joint meeting, the two boards took action to develop a partnership agreement that will serve the Upper Santa Ana River Wash Plan, the Upper Santa Ana River Habitat Conservation Plan and complete projects to recharge water into the Bunker Hill Basin for use during dry years.
“This partnership reflects the commitment of the two districts’ boards to meet our region’s needs for groundwater recharge and habitat conservation,” said Daniel Cozad, general manager of the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District. “It will expand the ways we work together to benefit the region and enhance cooperation and efficiency in operations.
“Collaboration is oftentimes difficult in our industry, especially where water or habitats are concerned,” he said. “But I believe, working thoughtfully together, we can more efficiently meet the water and habitat needs of our region.”
Douglas Headrick, general manager for the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District, agreed.
“Both districts bring valuable resources and relationships to the table to accomplish recharge and species preservation,” he said. “This partnership is a win-win for local tax- and ratepayers, and the sensitive habitats of our region.”
Details of the proposed partnership provide that:
• The conservation district provide up to 295 acres of conservation easements to the San Bernardino Valley Conservation Trust, to help offset the environmental impacts of active recharge projects being undertaken to enhance groundwater recharge and storage.
• For each acre of conservation easement the conservation district transfers to the trust, Valley District will provide funding to the conservation district for building new recharge projects.
• Valley District will fund a permanent endowment with the conservation trust to support the management of habitat mitigation land.
• Valley District will transfer to the conservation district the implementation, management and eventual ownership of the following capital improvement projects: Plunge Creek Basins 1 and 2 (construction and operations); City Creek Basins (construction and operations);Waterman Percolation Basins (reconstruction and maintenance); East Twin Creek Basin (repairs and maintenance); Mill Creek Diversion (expansion, construction, and operations).
Oversight and participation in the new partnership arrangement will be ensured through the establishment of a Partnership Agreement Policy Committee. The San Bernardino Valley Conservation Trust would be asked to expand its board to include a designee of the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District as a member.