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Orange County to Boost Fresh Water Aquifer

From Water and

Industry News
OCWD Receives $1.62M for Restoration Program
By Jenny Wedge, OCWD
Mar 31, 2004, 20:46

Fountain Valley, CA -- Orange County Water District (OCWD) recently received 1.62 million dollars from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) to help restore the native Santa Ana River riparian habitat. The funds were set aside for mitigation measures following a flood control study done by the Corps in San Timoteo Creek.

"We are pleased the Corps continues funding programs to restore the environment along the Santa Ana River and enhance Orange County's water supplies," said OCWD Board President Denis Bilodeau.

Specifically, the funds will be used in the area to restore native plants and remove non-native species from the watershed near the San Timoteo Creek in San Bernardino County, Calif. One non-native plant species that continues to be an issue in the Santa Ana River Watershed is Arundo donax, a giant reed-like plant.

Arundo donax is an invasive non-native plant that uses about three times the amount of water of native plants. It provides no environmental benefit, is a fire threat, as well as a plant that over runs and forces out native plants an animals. There are 10,000 acres of Arundo in the Santa Ana River watershed today. About 3.7- 5.6 acre-feet of water is conserved by each acre-foot of arundo removed. An acre-foot is enough water for a small family of four for one year, or about 326,000 gallons. The $1.62 million will be used to remove more arundo from the Santa Ana Watershed.

OCWD manages the Santa Ana River Watershed Conservation Trust Fund, established in 1997 to receive funds for implementing the watershed restoration program. Partners in the program with OCWD include U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Game and the Resource Conservation Districts along the river, among other partners.

The Orange County Water District (OCWD) manages and protects the huge groundwater basin underlying north and central Orange County. OCWD is a special district, separate from the County of Orange or any city government. It was created by the California Legislature in 1933 to oversee Orange County's groundwater basin.

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