The Santa Ana River is the largest river in Southern California. Stretching 154 kilometres through the region, the river snakes through many diverse habitats. Starting from the high peaks of mountains in the north to the hot, dry interior of the basin, it empties into the Pacific in flat coastal plains in the West.
The Santa Ana River is surrounded by a dense, highly urban landscape. Though this inevitably means that the river faces threats due to urbanization, the days when the river was too dirty to swim in are gone. Now, the river offers a nearby escape for locals and tourists alike to swim, paddle, and fish.
This is what Inland Empire Waterkeeper is working for. As a chapter of Orange County Coastkeeper, they’ve been addressing upstream issues happening in the Santa Ana River since 2005.
One of the ways they’re doing this? Monitoring bacteria levels at four points along the river, two of which are now available in Swim Guide.
Working closely with the local community, Inland Empire Waterkeeper brings together volunteers of all backgrounds to play an active role in their protection of the Santa Ana River. Hundreds of volunteers have helped their efforts, working together on such initiatives as water sampling, research, habitat restoration, and outreach.
Fortunately, the community that serves the Santa Ana River believe in protecting their watershed. They actively advise the Waterkeeper of pollution concerns and other problems along the river. Local schools often spend time with the Waterkeeper learning about threats to the river and passing along the message through their network.
Inland Empire has brought two new sites to Swim Guide. Both Santa Ana Regional Park and McLeans/ Anza Narrows are tested for water quality all year. You can see them here. We welcome Inland Empire Waterkeeper to the Swim Guide program!
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