Helping Nature Store Our Water

Plunge Creek Conservation Project

Plunge Creek Project recharges groundwater and creates a new home for the kangaroo rat and other native species

The San Bernardino kangaroo rat and the Santa Ana River woolly star thrive in areas with frequent flooding. But decades of mining — and the construction of ditches, pipeline crossings, levees and a bridge — had cut off water flow and made their environment unlivable.

With generous funding from the California Department of Water Resources; Proposition 84 grant program administered by the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority, San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District has built the multi-benefit Plunge Creek Conservation Project to restore this environment: a move designed to save the local population of kangaroo rats while increasing groundwater recharge in accordance with the District’s mission.

In a first for Southern California, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife awarded a Safe Harbor Agreement to the SBVWCD to temporarily remove the kangaroo rat from its degraded habitat in order to restore it. This agreement also allows for the cultivation of the endangered plant, the Santa Ana River woolly star, which is now being planted in the new habitat area along with other native flora. This was the first Safe Harbor Agreement awarded in Southern California, and one of just 10 awarded since 2012 in all of California.

The goal is to restore Plunge Creek back to a naturally braided stream system using natural processes and hydrology, removing invasive grasses, and increasing habitat for the endangered San Bernardino kangaroo rat and other rare and endangered species, as well as allowing the water to spread out and infiltrate into the ground to recharge the basin. Specifically, the project provides for:

Construction of two pilot channels to reintroduce intermittent flooding necessary to restore 208 acres of riverine habitat

Seed collection and revegetation of the new habitat area with woolly star, plus seeding of other native plants such as California buckwheat, desert wishbone bush, mulefat, tarragon, and deerweed

Tracking of San Bernardino kangaroo rat for up to 10 years after project implementation to gain a full understanding of long-term project benefits

Relocation of the San Bernardino kangaroo rat to the new habitat area

Oversight and monitoring by qualified biologists and ecologists

Invasive species control

Plunge Creek Map

Plunge Creek in the 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.

betsey miller vixie

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.

plunge creek

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.

kangaroo rat

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.

Plunge Creek Gallery

Additional Historical Documents

Select Toggle Title Date
pdf Plunge Creek Habitat Mitigation and Monitoring Plan (Feb2019) ( pdf, 5.20 MB ) (577 downloads)
pdf Newspaper Ad Plunge Creek Notice Inviting Bids ( pdf, 91 KB ) (900 downloads)
pdf PLUNGE CREEK Plan Final ( pdf, 15.09 MB ) (998 downloads)
pdf Notice Inviting Bids and Contract Documents Plunge Creek Final ( pdf, 1.93 MB ) (877 downloads)
pdf Plunge Creek Mitigation Monitoring & Reporting Program Final Feb 09, 2018 ( pdf, 209 KB ) (1252 downloads)
pdf Plunge Creek Mitigated Negative Declaration Final Feb 9, 2018 ( pdf, 76 KB ) (1323 downloads)
pdf Plunge Creek 30perc Design Report 032416 ( pdf, 1.24 MB ) (1324 downloads)
pdf Figure 6 Slender horned Spineflower Locations ( pdf, 1.57 MB ) (1157 downloads)
pdf Figure 5 Santa Ana Woolly Star Locations ( pdf, 1023 KB ) (1135 downloads)
pdf Figure 4 SBKR Habitat ( pdf, 1.39 MB ) (1147 downloads)
pdf Figure 3 Project Impacts ( pdf, 777 KB ) (1115 downloads)
pdf Figure 2 Project Components ( pdf, 888 KB ) (2010 downloads)
pdf Figure 1 Regional Overview Site Vicinity ( pdf, 1.28 MB ) (2063 downloads)
pdf Attach 9 Plunge Photos ( pdf, 4.13 MB ) (2487 downloads)
pdf Attach 8 Plunge Infiltration ( pdf, 463 KB ) (2715 downloads)