Lying behind the Prado Dam, south of the City of Chino, is a rich, low lying complex of wetlands, riparian habitat, and dairy lands. EHL is working to change a draft master plan that jeopardizes crucial federal lands in the basin.

Much of the Prado Basin is subject to rare flood events. Willow forests behind the dam have helped recover populations of the endangered least Bell’s vireo. Most gratifying is the City of Chino’s general plan, which anticipates natural and agricultural uses. Furthermore, a watershed planning effort by the Inland Empire Utility Agency, in which EHL participated, has united stakeholders behind a vision of water quality improvements and habitat restoration.

Among a complex pattern of land ownerships, the most important is the US Army Corps of Engineers. Unfortunately, a Corps draft master plan emphasized active recreation, such as golf courses, water parks, arenas, parking lots, and ball fields. These belong in developed areas rather than land of high ecological value. EHL filed comments under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) on this outdated vision, and will work with the Corps on updating the plan to protect the wetlands and upland benches important for both wildlife and the passive recreational needs of nearby communities.