Chino Basin Water Conservation District Becomes a Living Laboratory for Water-Saving Trees in the Inland Empire

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Researchers and water conservation specialists from the Chino Basin Water Conservation District and University of California Cooperative Extension have partnered on a study to identify new shade trees that both conserve water and thrive in a hotter and drier Inland Empire.

"With an ongoing drought and record high temperatures, we have been asking if there are trees better suited for our changing climate. This project will help provide answers to that question"

Inland Empire – Researchers and water conservation specialists from the Chino Basin Water Conservation District and University of California Cooperative Extension have partnered on a study to identify climate-appropriate shade trees that both conserve water and thrive in a hotter and drier Inland Empire. They hope to learn more about which trees are best for the region and its changing climate.

In total, the team planted 28 trees alongside the District’s groundwater retention site known as the “Montclair 4 Basin” behind its popular Water Conservation Campus in Montclair. The trees planted for the study include desert museum palo verde, the maverick mesquite, red push pistache, and the bubba desert willow.

Frankie Sotomayor, CBWCD Facilities Manager, provided the trees and installation of the irrigation system for the study. “We’ve planted many great low-water trees in the demonstration landscapes adjacent to our percolation basins, but with an ongoing drought and record high temperatures, we have been asking if there are trees better suited for our changing climate. This project will help provide answers to that question so that we can continue to demonstrate best practices for our region,” Sotomayor said.

The study will also examine the impact of organic mulch on the drought tolerance and tree health of four species of landscape trees, according to Cooperative Extension environmental horticulture advisor Janet Hartin. “CBWCD is a great partner for us in San Bernardino County. They share our mission of creating community-based educational programs about urban gardening, horticulture and the environment,” Hartin said.

The Water Conservation District’s water conservation campus in Montclair is not only a state-of-the-art demonstration and education facility, but also a living laboratory for environmental and horticultural science. “Research and demonstration projects like this are key to ensuring our region is on the pathway to sustainability and resiliency,” said Drew Ready, arborist and District Conservation Program Manager. “The findings of this study will result in a healthier urban forest and a greener, cooler Inland Empire. Chino Basin Water Conservation District is pleased to be a part of it.”

To learn more about this and other District conservation efforts, visit the Chino Basin Water Conservation District’s website at http://www.cbwcd.org or call 909-626-2711. Better yet drop their Water Conservation Campus at 4594 San Bernardino Street in Montclair to see just how beautiful water conservation can be!

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Becky Rittenburg

Frankie Sotomayor
Chino Basin Water Conservation District
since: 08/2010
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