James Folmer, editor, Highland Community News

Several years ago, a political candidate told me he had a great idea. I’m paraphrasing here because it was so long ago I don’t remember his name.

It was something like, “You know that giant crater next to Highway 30? I want to fill it with water and stock it with bass.”

For years I’d drive past the borrow pits that pockmark our landscape and fantasize about the idea. A few trees and a dock and we’d have a tourist destination between Highland and Redlands.

Daniel Cozad and Jeff Beehler of the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District laughed when I shared this story on Monday.

Clearly, my candidate didn’t understand the geology of the alluvial fan created by the Santa Ana River as it flows down from San Gorgonio Mountain. It delivers rocks and course sand, which is ideal for mining and underground water storage, but not for a fake lake.

The water would just sink into the Bunker Hill Basin. It could be lined with clay, as was done behind Seven Oak Dam. Even then, the lake would have to be topped off regularly because of evaporation. We can’t afford the water.

I am impressed with the Santa Ana River Land Exchange plan. It’s good for the mining industry, a pillar of our economy, and the environment. I hope the Senate passes it and president signs it.

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