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ORANGE COUNTY

$9 Million to Help Offset Dam's Impact

October 31, 2002|-- David Reyes

The Orange County Water District will receive $9 million from the Army Corps of Engineers to help an endangered bird's recovery and also eradicate a fast-growing, bamboo-like invader that drinks up thousands of gallons of potable water a year.

The money is part of an effort to offset the impact of raising the height of the Prado Dam, which is near Corona in Riverside County. The corps built and operates the flood-control project.

The dam is expected to be raised 28 feet, greatly expanding the Prado flood basin. Construction could start by January.

Part of the funds will help wildlife management for the least Bell's vireo, an endangered California songbird in the project area.

The money will be paid over a seven-year period and also fund eradication of Arundo donax, an invasive, non-native reed that can grow two inches a day. It thrives in parts of Southern California, choking out native plants.

The money will also help pay for habitat restoration, public education and recreational management, an Orange County Water District spokesman said.

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