Helping Nature Store Our Water

The Upper Santa Ana River Wash Habitat Conservation Plan

The Wash Plan: An Integrated, Collaborative Model for the Upper Santa Ana River

The Upper Santa Ana River Wash Habitat Conservation Plan (Wash Plan) is the culmination of two decades of coordination among Task Force partners to develop an integrated approach to permit and mitigate 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.

Download the Wash Plan

The Wash Plan provides several distinctive benefits that include:

Establishing a new Wash Plan Preserve with 1,660 acres of native natural habitat to protect rare, threatened and endangered species. Monitoring, stewardship, and restoration of the Preserve will be funded in perpetuity.

Allowing for enhanced capture and storage of water in rivers and streams to replenish local groundwater supplies.

Designating disturbed land areas in the Wash for mining operations that support more than $36 million in construction-related payroll annually to the region.

Creating a system of public trails within the Wash to promote environmental education and appreciation of the value of this natural resource.

It will allow the SBVWCD and its partners to successfully implement 63 identified projects in a collaborative fashion that:

Comply with requirements of Federal Endangered Species Act section 10(a)1(B)

Support local jurisdictions and businesses through provision of permits for impacts to species listed by the Federal Endangered Species Act

Protect the environmental provision of long-term land conservation, species monitoring, and dedicated funding for management

Provide a basis for obtaining other State and Federal permits

Wash Plan Covered Species

The Wash Plan requires conservation and management of five Covered Species, including the slender-horned spineflower, Santa Ana river woollystar, cactus wren, California gnatcatcher, and San Bernardino kangaroo rat.

Species Name

Species Name

Full Scientific Name
Federal Status
State Status
Slender-horned spineflower

Slender-horned spineflower

Dodecahema leptoceras
Endangered
Endangered
Santa Ana River woolly-star

Santa Ana River woolly-star

Eriastrum densifolium ssp. sanctorum
Endangered
Endangered
Cactus wren

Cactus wren

Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus
None
None
Coastal California gnatcatcher

Coastal California gnatcatcher

Polioptila californica californica
Threatened
SSC
San Bernadino kangaroo rat

San Bernadino kangaroo rat

Dipodomys merriami parvus
Endangered
Candidate

SSC = California Department of Fish and Wildlife Species of Special Concern

This map shows the areas that are set aside for covered activities and for covered species.
(click to enlarge)

SBVWCD Covered Species Map

Wash Plan in the News

Highland Community News

SBVWCD granted 30-year permit for complex Habitat Conservation Plan

The plan accounts for water, mining, flood control and local species needs, and is the result of two decades of consensus building among area cities, water districts, and regulatory agencies.

Santa Ana Wash Plan

Can a new plan for the wash that runs between Redlands and Highland protect flowers, animals and mining?

It took two decades to finish the plan that protects the disappearing habitat and human uses.

Association of California Water Agencies – eNews SBVWCD Granted Permit for Complex Habitat Conservation Plan

Association of California Water Agencies – eNews SBVWCD Granted Permit for Complex Habitat Conservation Plan

A vision first formed in the early 1990s finally came to fruition today when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) gave the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District (SBVWCD) authority to manage a long-awaited project that will benefit water, environmental, economic and community interests in the Upper Santa Ana River Wash.

Wash Plan History

Representatives from agencies interested in water, mining, flood control, wildlife, and municipal facilities form the Wash Committee to address mining issues within the upper Santa Ana River Wash.
1993
The role of the Wash Committee expands to evaluate options for accommodation within the Wash of all functions represented by the participating agencies, including formation of a Policy Action Committee and Technical Advisory Committee.
1997
Workshops are held to develop alternatives for land uses with the Wash Plan area.
1998-1999
General consensus is reached on a land use alternative. The Wash Plan Task Force is formed.
2000
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) publishes a Notice of Intent to prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Statement under NEPA to amend the South Coast Resource Management Plan to meet the goals of the Wash Plan in the Federal Register, while the Conservation District publishes a Notice of Preparation for an Environmental Impact Report for the Wash Plan under CEQA. Joint public scoping meetings are held for the Wash Plan.
2004
San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District Board adopts the Upper Santa Ana River Wash Land Management and Habitat Conservation Plan and associated Environmental Impact Report, and files a Notice of Determination under CEQA for the Wash Plan.
2008
Revisions to the Wash Plan reduce overall project impacts and increase species and habitat conservation.
2014
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and BLM publishes a Notice of Intent to prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Wash Plan under NEPA in the Federal Register, while the Conservation District publishes a Notice of Preparation for a Supplemental Environmental Impact Report for the Wash Plan under CEQA. Joint public scoping meetings are held for the Wash Plan.
2015
President Trump signs the Santa Ana River Wash Land Exchange Act, clearing the way for a land exchange between the Conservation District and BLM to meet the goals of the Wash Plan.
2019
The Wash Plan Incidental Take Permit was issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on July 13, 2020, allowing the Conservation District to permit Covered Activities through a Certificate of Inclusion process. In addition, the Conservation District is leading an effort to obtain additional State and/or Clean Water Act permits that may be required to proceed with certain Covered Activities..
2020