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Federal Grant to Support Local Habitat Conservation Efforts

Valley District Receives Fourth Grant for Regional Project

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 15, 2020                         

Federal Grant to Support Local Habitat Conservation Efforts

Valley District receives Fourth Grant for Regional Project

In May the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District was awarded an $875,000 Habitat Conservation Planning grant through Section 6 of the Endangered Species Act. This is the District’s fourth Section 6 HCP Planning Grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service since 2014, totaling $2.62 million in grant funding in support of the proposed Upper Santa Ana River Habitat Conservation Plan.

In 2014, the District took the bold step to lead the development of a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) for the Upper Santa Ana River. This HCP will provide incidental take coverage for sensitive, threatened, and/or endangered species associated with more than 70 proposed projects, including stormwater and recycled water, throughout the upper watershed. These proposed projects will provide approximately 80,000 acre-feet per year of additional local water supply to the region. To offset the impacts of these water projects, habitat protection and management associated with a regional Conservation Strategy will be undertaken, that will restore tributary streams, and portions of the Santa Ana River, to protect native species.

“These planning grants demonstrate our sustained support for the partners that are developing this HCP, and reflect the importance of conserving the Upper Santa Ana River ecosystem and the species that rely on it,” commented Scott Sobiech, Field Supervisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Carlsbad Office.

The other grants were received for the development of the HCP, native fish surveys, and the Santa Ana River Integrated Model.

“I’m so pleased about receiving this grant at this stage of our HCP,” commented Heather Dyer, General Manager for Valley District. “We’re at a pivotal time to finalize the HCP and get it out the door for public review. This grant will support our long-term monitoring and management program, which is a critical component of the HCP.”

The Upper Santa Ana River HCP was developed to enable the building of water supply projects across the Upper Santa Ana River Watershed. The purpose of an HCP is to identify how the project(s) being proposed will impact the habitat and threatened or endangered wildlife, and how these impacts will be remediated. The Upper Santa Ana River HCP is a collaborative effort among the water resource agencies of the Santa Ana River Watershed, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and several other government agencies and stakeholder organizations.  

“The San Bernardino Valley is a desert and every ounce of water is precious,” stated T. Milford Harrison, Valley District Board President. “Participating in the HCP will enable us to construct necessary and vital water supply facilities. The HCP enables us to provide for the water needs of the region, while at the same time ensuring the environment remains protected for generations to come.”

The Upper Santa Ana River HCP is nearing the release of its Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR). Once the Draft EIR is released, it will be available for public review and comment. To learn more about the Upper Santa Ana River HCP, visit uppersarhcp.com

About San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District

Valley District is a State Water contractor that provides supplemental water to 14 retail water agencies from Fontana to Yucaipa, meeting the water needs of nearly 800,000 business and residential customers.  In addition to providing supplemental water from Northern California, Valley District is responsible for long-range water planning throughout its 325 square mile service area, including importing supplemental water, groundwater management, and wastewater and storm water disposal. For more information about Valley District and water use efficiency, visit www.sbvmwd.com or follow us on Facebook (@SBValleyDistrict) and Twitter (@SBVMWD).

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Media Contacts:

Kristeen Farlow, Manager Water Use Efficiency/External Affairs

kristeenf@sbvmwd.com/909-387-9229

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