Arundo Habitat Management

SAWPA has been working in conjunction with its partners, primarily the Santa Ana Watershed Association (SAWA) and Riverside County Regional Park and Open-Space District (RivCo Parks), toward the goal of eliminating invasive cane, Arundo donax (Arundo) from the Santa Ana River Watershed. Thus far, 3,000 acres of Arundo was removed and replaced with native habitat, providing approximately 10,000 acre feet per year of new water to the region (enough water to support 20,000 families per year).

RivCo Parks administers the Santa Ana River Mitigation Bank. The bank allows for project proponents or developers who have mitigation needs to purchase credits in lieu of implementing mitigation themselves. The sale of SAWPA owned credits goes toward the removal and treatment of Arundo and other heavy water using invasive plants in the Santa Ana River Watershed per SAWPA Commission Resolution 427.

Do you have a project or development that is within the Santa Ana River Watershed and near a waterway? Then the Santa Ana River Mitigation Bank may be a perfect mitigation credit source for you.

These mitigation credits are available through SAWPA and  the Riverside County Regional Park and Open-Space District. The price per acre is $45,398, with a minimum purchase of ¼ acre. Acreage credit is available on a first-come-first-served basis.

To initiate the purchase of mitigation credits, please submit an email to Ian Achimore at and the Riverside County Parks Finance Office at . A memo will be prepared for you upon receipt of the email.

SAR Mitigation Bank Image



SAWPA has funded Arundo removal and habitat restoration projects throughout the watershed using funds from Propositions 13, 50 and 84. Partnering agencies have successfully used additional funding sources to ensure the program’s success. SAWPA, as part of the Proposition 13, purchased 100 acres of mitigation credits. The sale of these credits provides on-going funding to maintain the habitat and ensure the water benefit to the Santa Ana River Watershed.

Historically Arundo was brought to the region for erosion control and as a forage crop for livestock. The large root structures and the rapid growth pattern of Arundo resulted in the plant using more than three times the water as native vegetation. The large root structures and segments of Arundo “cane” spread across the watershed waterways infesting approximately 10,000 acres of the Santa Ana River Watershed. Since that time, through cooperative programs, including the SAWPA Arundo removal program, nearly 40% of the standing Arundo in the watershed has been removed and is being replaced with native riparian or wetland vegetation.

Large stands of Arundo, growing up to 30 feet in height, have limited wildlife habitat value and often shade out desired species. The tall Arundo plants also break easily during flood flows and unlike native vegetation, are likely to form large debris dams that threaten infrastructure and property. Tall stands of senescent Arundo are a significant fire risk and have resulted in large fires in the river corridor. These fires may damage property along the river and carry fires long distances through the watershed.

For further information about this project or the mitigation bank,
please contact Ian Achimore
Email: First name initial last name