The District is developing an aquatic research and native fish breeding facility in the Agricultural Greenbelt area of Riverside. The construction of new raceways at the Greenbelt property will increase capacity to safely hold, rear, and study native fishes, as well as provide greater refugia for rescued fish, frogs, and pond turtles that may be extirpated from their native habitat due to catastrophic floods, drought, or other unforeseen conditions.
Much of the project is part of the Upper Santa Ana River Habitat Conservation Plan (SAR HCP), which is being funded by local water districts. Under the plan, RCRCD will create conservation easements on some of the lower tributaries of the river in order to conserve and manage essential habitat that fish rely on during warm water conditions, and at smaller backwaters. Fish propagated at the facility will be released into tributaries of the Santa Ana River where Santa Ana suckers were once common.