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Southwestern Riverside County Multi-Species Reserve

With the creation of the Southwestern Riverside County Multi-Species Reserve, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California forged California's first agreement for multispecies protection. The reserve consists of 14,000 acres surrounding and connecting Diamond Valley Lake with Lake Skinner via the 2,500-acre Dr. Roy Shipley Reserve purchased by Metropolitan as partial mitigation for the project.

Notable species include:

The California gnatcatcher, which makes its home in the low-growing, fragrant coastal sage scrub

• Bell's sage sparrow, which nests in Riversidian coastal sage scrub and chaparral

• The San Diego horned lizard and the orange-throated whiptail, which are found throughout the reserve in sage scrub, chaparral and grassland areas

• The Payson's jewelflower and Parry's spineflower, appearing in Riversidian sage scrub areas


The reserve is home to at least eight types of habitat and up to 31 sensitive bird, animal and plant species. Three types of habitat dominate: Riverside coastal sage scrub, non-native grasslands and chaparral. Smaller habitats include: coast live oak woodland, southern willow scrub and live oak, and cottonwood willow riparian forests.

Balancing Water Reliability and the Environment

Metropolitan's environmental projects and programs for habitat protection and preservation have been tied, in some cases, to major infrastructure projects. Read more about Metropolitan's commitment on environmental protection of entire ecosystems.