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March 18, 2019

Land swap expected to create jobs, more protections and recreation in Santa Ana River wash

The Santa Ana River Wash Land Exchange Act, sponsored by Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Redlands, and signed this week by President Donald Trump, lets the Bureau of Land Management trade 327 acres in the wash for 310 acres owned by the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District. The conservation district may also exchange another 59 acres, and the BLM another 90 acres, if those deals are needed to equalize market values.

The swaps, in turn, advance a land-use plan for the area. The basic idea is to allow more mining and boost water conservation while also boosting protections for natural habitat.

“There’s a lot of land out there,” said Aguilar, whose involvement in the plan dates back to his time as Mayor of Redlands. “But there is so much that is going on.”