RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Nearly 200 members of the scientific and environmental communities gathered at the sixth annual Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority conference held here Oct. 14 to discuss the future of the Santa Ana River and how public agencies and private enterprise can work together to meet the challenges a changing environment and growing population will present to those who rely on the river for its precious water.
Col. Kim Colloton, commander of the Corps’ Los Angeles District, said the Corps is on a campaign to improve cooperation among its partners and stakeholders. She said while streamlining the study process is beneficial, the ultimate goal is the implementation of new projects. And the best way to get projects approved, she said, is to partner with stakeholders to address water issues on a regional level.
“Watersheds are how we’re aligned. They don’t necessarily follow routine boundaries,” Colloton said. “We have to resist the pull to look at issues locally, to be myopic. Today’s projects have to represent value to the nation.”
Colloton discussed the ongoing Prado Dam modernization project, currently in phase two of building dikes in the basin. The dikes will protect homes, a women’s prison, a historic adobe and several industrial facilities.
More anticipated, perhaps, were the colonel’s comments regarding the status of the patriotic mural painted on the dam’s spillway by local high school students in 1976. Colloton said the Corps understands the public’s desire to have a mural on the spillway, whether a repainting of the previous mural or a new design. She announced the Corps will work with the public and Rep. Ken Calvert to determine an appropriate mural in the near future.