Sediment-laden runoff from construction flows into Lake Elsinore.
Fighting Urban Runoff
Urban runoff is a major cause of water pollution in the rivers, lakes, and streams of the Inland Empire. Urban runoff occurs when water flows over or through land, carrying with it all the pollutants it picks up along the way. As a result, these pollutants are deposited in surface or groundwater. This polluted runoff often originates from sources that are difficult to trace, such as runoff from irrigated landscapes and roads. The solution to urban runoff is "source control," which means reducing both the flow of water and the pollutants themselves. Our enforcement efforts focus on reducing the amount of water, nutrients, sediment, chemicals, oils and grease, trash and bacteria entering our waterways.
Building and Development Standards Enforcement
The Environmental Protection Agency has cited sediment-laden runoff from construction projects as one of the most potentially damaging forms of water pollution. Sediment leaving construction sites may deliver toxic chemicals and nutrients into waterways. We work with developers to ensure their projects will not negatively impact water quality during construction or when completely built. We promote low-impact developement methods of source control for reducing urban runoff.
Keeping on Top of Runoff
Before the rainy season we identify potential sources of pollution. After rain events, we sample water at selected sites for contamination. If our samples exceed standard thresholds for water quality, Inland Empire Waterkeeper will work with dischargers to find solutions for the problem. However, if we are unable to work with the dischargers we will enforce the provisions of the Porter-Cologne Act and the Clean Water Act with litigation.
Unlike other environmental organizations, we at Inland Empire Waterkeeper do not keep a penny of any settlement monies. We donate the money for supplemental environmental projects that benefit water-quality projects in our communities.
Supplemental Environmental Projects
The supplemental environmental projects that have been supported by Inland Empire Waterkeeper to date include:
1. Lake Elsinore Wetland Restoration and Rearing Pond Construction- $25,000: to establish more stands of emergent aquatic vegetation in the back basin of Lake Elsinore that will provide structure and habitat value for a variety of aquatic species
2. Baldwin Lake/Shay Creek Restoration Project - $25,000: to complete the first stage of a plan to remedy habitat loss of the endangered unarmored three-spined stickleback fish.
3. Santa Ana River Recreation Map - $50,000: for the development of a wall map containing the many recreational opportunities located adjacent to the Santa Ana River.
4. Temescal Creek Native Fish Restoration and Enhancement Program - $140,000: to expand Riverside-Corona Resource Conservation District's project to augment native fish populations into the Lee Lake Conservation Easement area of Temescal Creek.
5. Orange County/Inland Empire Public Interest Green Fund held at the OC Community Foundation - $30,000: a fund for nonprofit organizations to hire experts when needed to protect watershed resources.
If you see potential urban runoff problems, take note of the location, the organization or project involved, and even take photos of what you see if you have a camera handy. Contact us at (951 )530-8823.