Watershed Warrior’s Gardening 101 

The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. What if we told you that you can have a healthy garden without the excessive use of pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers?

When gardening, practicing the 4 S’s will help you achieve the garden of your dreams in no time. 

The 4 S’s are: 

  • SELECT – When you want to get rid of pests and pump up the quality of your soil always SELECT the least toxic option. You will be surprised by the wonders of all-natural compost; organic food scraps and yard waste are a boon to plants and the planet.
  • STRATEGICALLY – When applying chemical products to your lawn or garden, STRATEGICALLY do so on days when rain is not expected. This will prevent the chemical from ending up in our watershed, polluting our watershed. 
  • SPOT-APPLY – SPOT-APPLY pesticides or chemicals only to the area that needs treatment.
  • SAFELY – Always make sure you SAFELY dispose of unwanted household hazardous waste at a collection center. To learn more about what items qualify as a household hazardous waste click here.

For more information about our gardening resources, you can visit our website here.

California-Friendly Plants for your Garden

California is experiencing a historic drought, and we are all being asked to make sacrifices to save water. Watering our grass has been one of those sacrifices Californians have been asked to participate in. But did you know there are plants native to California that do not require much water to survive?

Having plants native to your environment is the best way to keep a beautiful garden and adhere to the drought rules. Local plant species are characterized as being able to better absorb and use water more efficiently during periods of droughts to survive.

If you want vibrant colored native plants in your yard, here are some of our favorites:

Apricot Mallow (Sphaeralcea Ambigua): This plant is native to California, and it grows well in alkaline soil.

• California Fuchsia (Epilobium Canum or Zauschneria): This plant is native to dry slopes and chaparral of western North America, especially California. During the late summer and autumn seasons, it blooms bright scarlet flowers.

• California Redbud (Cercis Occidentalis): This easily recognized plant blooms from March to May, and when in full bloom it is covered with small pink and purple flowers.

Next time you are thinking about re-doing your garden or yard, look into incorporating native plants. By planting plants that are drought resistant you are helping future generations inherit an earth they can enjoy and help protect for years to come.

Stormwater Pollution Prevention 

Did you know that rainwater and irrigation runoff travels over land and picks up what we’ve left behind? This means that pollutants such as trash, pet waste and fertilizers can end up polluting our watersheds if we are not careful. We have three watersheds to protect here in Riverside County: Santa Ana, Santa Margarita and Whitewater River.

When rainwater and irrigation travel through the streets picking up pollutants, it ends up draining the polluted stormwater into our rivers. This means that the untreated water affects the quality of life of fish and wildlife habitats, recreational areas and drinking water supplies. Meaning that it threatens the water quality and decreases fish populations, or it can make the water unsafe for swimming and fishing. 

Here are some ways you can help prevent stormwater pollution: 

  • Don’t litter
  • Drop off hazardous waste at certified collection facilities. To find the nearest facility to you click here.
  • Make sure you #ScoopThatPoop
  • Don’t overwater, especially in times of droughts
  • Help educate your friends and family. You can find our outreach and education programs here.

If you are interested in locating a watershed near you, click here.

Thank you for helping us keep our watersheds clean and healthy for future generations to enjoy!


Help us keep our watersheds clean! Overwatering your lawn may cause pollutants left behind to end up in our watersheds. Pollutants end in watersheds when irrigation travels over land and picks up any trash we’ve left behind, therefore it is very important to always pick up any litter we see. 

Here are some helpful tips to help you not overwater: 

  • Choose to broom your driveway instead of hosing it down 
  • Reduce your waste
  • Use non-toxic alternatives for pest management 
  • Set sprinklers to water your lawn only once before sunrise or after sunset

For non-toxic pesticide alternatives, visit here.

Is you are interested in becoming a #WatershedWarrior and making your landscaping more water-efficient, click here.

Thank you for helping us eliminate the amount of pollutants that end up in our rivers and creeks. 

Discover the Wonders of Riverside’s Nature Centers!

RivCoParks has three family-friendly nature centers designed to help us understand and appreciate our unique ecosystems. The three nature centers are Hidden Valley, Santa Rosa Plateau and Idyllwild Nature Center. 

Hidden Valley Nature Center is located in Riverside, has over 1,500-acre wildlife area, 25 miles of hiking and equestrian trails, nature camps/summer day camps and scout programs. To learn more about Hidden Valley Nature Center, click here.

Santa Rosa Plateau is located in Murrieta, and is a 9,000-acre ecological reserve. Santa Rosa features activities such as hiking, biking and equestrian trails, offers educational 3rd grade field trips and is the home to historic adobe structures from the 1800’s. For more information about the Santa Rosa Plateau, visit here.

Finally, the Idyllwild Nature Center is located in Idyllwild, is home to Cahuilla native culture and offers history education, guided tours and hikes. If you are interested in learning more about Idyllwild Nature Center, click here.

As back to school season is upon us, take some time to take your kids on one last summer adventure at one of the nature centers we get to call our backyard. Remember to tag us on social media during your nature excursions and show us how you are being a #WatershedWarrior!

Lake Skinner Recreation Area

Did you know there are more than 80 bird species that call Lake Skinner home? Well, if you are an avid birdwatcher, Lake Skinner is the place to be this summer. The RivCo Parks website provides a well-detailed Birding 101 guide to help you find the birds easier and if you are lucky, you might just spot a Bald Eagle! 

Located in the rolling hills of Winchester, CA, the Lake Skinner Recreation area has more to offer than bird watching. Visitors can enjoy the majestic natural views and the ample recreation opportunities available at Lake Skinner. Although swimming is not permitted at the lake, visitors can partake in camping, picnicking, hiking, horseback riding, sailing, fishing or enjoy end splash pad. 

The recreation area offers two shade shelters, picnic benches and barbecues for daytime visitors. Campsites offer benches and fire rings for overnight guests. If you are interested in camping at Lake Skinner make sure you reserve your spot ahead of time via the RivCo Parks reservation system! 

For more information regarding park rules, park fees and catfish stock schedule click here. You can find the Birding 101 guide here.

How to keep your pool stormwater-friendly

Hi neighbor, we hope you are enjoying your pool this summer! We want to make sure you are keeping your pool cool and stormwater-friendly all summer long. Here are three tips:

  • Pool Discharge: While many pools are designed to drain directly into the sanitary sewer, you should always check with your plumber or pool maintenance provider to make sure your pool is discharging properly.
  • Proper Drainage: Check with your local jurisdiction for proper pool drainage. For Riverside pool drainage check out the FAQ question “Do I need to notify the city before I drain my pool?” here.
  • Leftover Chemicals: To avoid chemicals washing into the storm drain and into our local waterways, make sure you properly store or dispose of any leftover pool cleaning chemicals. Take your unwanted chemicals to the Riverside County Household Hazardous Waste Collection Center.

To learn more about proper stormwater-friendly management of your pool, click here. To learn more about household hazardous waste, click here.

Environmentally Friendly Horse Management

With summer in full swing, has your child found an interest in becoming an equestrian? If your family is new to the equestrian world, there are a few things to know about horse management and its effect on our environment. For example, did you know horse waste is organic, but it can contain harmful elements like sediment, phosphorus, bacteria and viruses? Before taking the on the responsibility of a horse, here are some best practices for horse care taking:

  • Collect and Remove: Manure should be removed from stalls, pens, and corrals at least once a day.
  • Waste Deposit: Always deposit waste in sturdy, insect-resistant and seepage-free waste containers. 
  • Manure Coverage: During rainy days, it is essential that you cover the manure with tarps to prevent runoff of pollutants. It is also important to arrange for weekly manure pick-up service or compost waste. Bonus points if you donate the extra compost to a community garden!
  • Horse Maintenance: When giving your horse a bath, remember to do it on a permeable surface or in an area that is connected to the sanitary sewer. 
  • Avoid: To reduce runoff, keep horses away from streams, flood-prone areas and steep hillsides. 

Remember, proper management of manure, pastures and paddocks can prevent pollutants from entering local waterways and protect the health of your horse. For more information regarding manure management click here.

Eco-Friendly Father’s Day Gifts

There are a million reasons why dads are awesome, and we could spend forever debating about who has the best dad. If you’re considering what to get for the father figure in your life this Father’s Day, consider picking an eco-friendly Father’s Day gift. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Reusable coffee mug: A reusable coffee mug is the perfect gift for busy mornings when dad can’t enjoy his coffee at home and has to take it to go. Bonus points if it’s a stainless reusable mug! This type of mugs does not contain BPA’s and keep your coffee hot for a longer period of time.
  • Plant a tree in their honor: Imagine how honored your dad will feel when you surprise him with a tree planted in his honor. To make it especially personable, opt for his favorite fruit or other type of tree. Remember, before picking a tree make sure to check if it is a native plant to your area.
  • Portable solar charger: This gift is perfect for tech-savvy dads. This is great for the dad on the go, who always wants to charge their phone in a more sustainable matter.
  • Handmade card: If you are looking for a sentimental gift idea, gather any crafting objects you have laying around the house. Use these items to create a heartfelt Father’s Day card he will cherish forever.

We know spoiling dad is a year-round act, but we are certain he will love these gifts. Showing dad some extra love on Father’s Day will certainly brighten their day! Plus, an eco-friendly gift won’t hurt anyone – especially not Mother Earth.

Happy Father’s Day!

What is Stormwater Management?

County Watershed Protection Program is a partnership between Riverside County, the Flood Control & Water Conservation District, Coachella Valley Water District and 27 cities that manage watershed programs. Together we strive to protect and enhance the quality of the water and the natural environment of our watersheds. By maintaining our watersheds clean and healthy we are actively improving the life of the people, flora and fauna who share the watershed.

Here are some ways our watershed monitoring program works:

  • Identifying long-term changes to receiving water quality conditions
  • Analyzing data to determine the impact of urban runoff and measure potential impacts to receiving water quality and its beneficial uses
  • Tracking water quality outcomes of watershed, document pollutant loadings and/or trends in pollutant loadings for specific watersheds or outfall

Thank you for helping us maintain our watersheds clean and healthy for generations to come! For more information regarding our monitoring programs, click here.

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