Upper Santa Ana River Wash Plan Gets Nod

(July 26) The Upper Santa Ana River Management and Habitat Conservation Plan Task Force has given tentative go-ahead to what appears to be the final draft of the protection plan for the Upper Santa Ana River Wash.
State, federal and local government representatives on the task force last week met at the conference room of the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District in Redlands to make a last time review of the plan, with its estimated $787,500 cost.
The Bureau of Land Management, the state and federal departments of Fish and Game, the cities of Redlands and Highland, the San Bernardino County Flood Control District, and San Bernardino County are all public sector participants in the undertaking, with the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District acting as the lead agency. Two major private sector entities, Cemex and Robertsons, are participants as well.
There  now appears to be general agreement on the cost sharing for the plan, which has Cemex and Robertson bearing the lion’s share, with each putting up $182,251 or 23.27 percent each. The San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District and San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District are being counted upon to put up $182,306 or 23.15 percent each toward the total. The city of Highland would cover 6.06 percent of the cost, or $47,722; The East Valley Water District would pay 3.03 percent, or $23,861.
The plan, which dictates permitted uses, the location where those uses can take place and intensities of use within the wash, has as its goal protecting native plants and the habitat of certain species of wildlife such as the wooly star and the kangaroo rat.
For their participation in the plan, Cemex and Robertson are given certain priorities of use with regard to their mining interests at the site, allowing them to extract limestone within a 330 acres portion, which accounts for 28 percent of the wash. Water conservation limits pertain to 300 acres, which translates to 26 percent. Habitat preservation is applicable to 43 percent of the wash for a total of 505 acres.
An environmental impact report for the plan has been completed and its filing and acceptance is pending. The costs quoted above relate to implementation and initiation of the plan. Once in place, it will require half a million per year to maintain it.

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