Hidden Valley Wildlife Area is approximately 1,500 acres and encompasses a 5-mile reach of the Santa Ana River. San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District (Valley District) acquired the property in the mid-1970s to benefit the public and wildlife as open space. Hidden Valley Wetlands exist as a series of water retention basins. Until 2010 these ponds provided nitrogen and phosphorus removal as the final step in wastewater treatment. Today they are dry and offer little benefit to the public or native wildlife.
The Upper Santa Ana River Habitat Conservation Plan, headed by Valley District, will restore native habitats and re-wet Hidden Valley Wetlands. This effort is crucial for enhancing and revitalizing the Hidden Valley Wildlife Area and additional habitat restoration efforts undertaken by the Riverside County Regional Park & Open Space District, HANA Resources, Santa Ana Watershed Association, and Valley District.
From fall to early spring, Hidden Valley Wetlands will be managed as an open water pond system to provide habitats for native resident wildlife, a stop-over and breeding location for waterfowl, and educational and recreational opportunities for the public. In late spring, the wetlands will transition to mostly dry conditions, with water flowing through an inset creek system that will meander through the basins. Dryer conditions will be present through late summer to mimic natural processes, conserve water resources, and allow land managers to sustain high-quality, complex habitats for additional native species.
Kirill Volchinskiy, Darya Wheeler, Necils Lopez, Alina Kopteva