The Story of the Santa Margarita Watershed

The Santa Margarita Watershed, the second largest river basin in the Southern California coastal plain, provides water for the residents of Southwestern Riverside County which includes cities such as Murrieta and Temecula.

Santa Margarita River

The Santa Margarita River, previously known as the Temecula River, is the longest free flowing, undammed river along the Southern California coast. The mainstream of the river begins at the confluence of Temecula and Murrieta Creek east of Interstate 15. After it reaches the south end of the Santa Ana Mountains it forms a large flood plain as it crosses Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base. The presence of the camp and inaccessibility of the landscape contributes to its undisturbed existence.

The Watershed   

The Santa Margarita watershed encompasses a land area of approximately 750 square miles in northern San Diego and the Southwest portion of Riverside County including the cities of Menifee, Murrieta, Wildomar, and Temecula.

Threats that affect this watershed include overwatering, litter, and household hazardous waste. Riverside County Flood Control works tirelessly to ensure that the public is informed on helping keep storm drains clear along with providing knowledge about the dangers and impacts of not doing so. If there is a blockage in the storm drains or large amounts of waste in the water ways, nearby residences and infrastructure could be greatly affected.

Keeping the watershed clean is a group effort and we all play an important role in conserving the quality of our water and the habitat of numerous species.

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