The Upper Santa Ana Wash Habitat Conservation Plan and Final EIS/SEIR were published in the Federal Register Friday, May 15, signifying a major step toward implementation of the plan that will expand habitat conservation efforts while establishing 30-year permits for important activities including water conservation, flood control and aggregate mining.
The 4,500-acre Wash Plan was developed over two decades by a local Wash Plan Task Force made up of the cities of Highland and Redlands, the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District (SBVWCD), East Valley Water District, San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District, CEMEX, Robertson’s Ready Mix, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and California Department of Fish and Wildlife. It represents a unique collaboration between government, business and environmental interests to expand sensitive habitat areas and water storage, while establishing appropriate areas for mining operations that provide essential construction aggregate and jobs to the region.
The plan will provide participating agencies 30-year incidental take permits covering two federally listed animal species, two federally listed plant species and one non-listed animal species within the Upper Santa Ana River Wash.
The plan helps protect endangered species slender-horned spineflower, Santa Ana woolly-star and San Bernardino kangaroo rat, threatened coastal California gnatcatcher and the unlisted cactus wren.
Implementation of the Wash Plan would result in permanent conservation and management of 1,659.9 acres of native habitats that support these species.
The Wash Plan is the culmination of over a decade of coordination among the Task Force partners to develop an integrated approach to permit and mitigate all construction and maintenance activities within the Wash area, including water conservation, wells and water infrastructure, aggregate mining, transportation, flood control, agriculture, trails and habitat enhancement.
Activates that will be permitted under the plan include those related to the operations and maintenance of existing facilities or land uses already in operation within 166.9 acres of the wash as well as for expansion or enhancement of facilities planned for 634.1 acres of the wash area.