San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District (SBVWCD) recently announced they have been awarded a Safe Harbor Agreement by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to temporarily remove the kangaroo rat and the Santa Ana River woolly star from its degraded habitat in order to restore it and save the local population.
According to SBVWCD, this is the first Safe Harbor Agreement awarded in Southern California, and one of just 10 awarded since 2012.
“Decades of mining, and the construction of ditches, pipeline crossings, levees and a bridge had cut off water flow and made these species’ home essentially unlivable,” said Daniel Cozad, general manager of the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District. “These species typically live in areas of intermittent flooding, and their former habitat no longer provided that.”
The kangaroo rat relocation is part of the Plunge Creek Conservation Project. The District received a $500,000 grant from the California Department of Water Resources and the balance of the $800,000 project will be funded by the District’s Capital Project Reserve.
“Our District is focused on working with nature, whether to capture and store water underground, or to preserve local species through habitat restoration,” said Richard Corneille, SBVWCD Board President. “We are extremely proud to have reached this agreement, which is unprecedented in Southern California.”