The Santa Ana River is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Riverside. Providing water, flood conveyance, wildlife habitat, and recreational and educational opportunities, the river is a vital resource for both people and ecological communities in the region.

The Santa Ana River historically occupied a broad and dynamic river corridor characterized by a diverse mix of riparian and wetland habitats; surrounding areas were dominated by extensive sage scrub and forbland communities. Over the past two centuries, however, the natural functioning of the river has been heavily modified through channelization, levees, dam construction, and other impacts. Over 80% of the native habitat within the study area has been converted to developed and disturbed land, including approximately half of the historical extent of riparian forest and scrub.

While the Santa Ana River and its surroundings have changed drastically since the mid-19th century, this modified landscape still has the potential to support a healthy and resilient ecosystem. Reconnecting Riverside with its River synthesizes information from both historical and present-day landscape analyses to develop multi-benefit strategies and recommendations that support ecological processes, meet present-day species needs, and foster livable communities with connection to nature and its benefits.

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Programs and Focus Areas: 
Resilient Landscapes Program
Historical Ecology
Watershed Science & Management
Urban Nature Lab
Location Information