Norco Strives to Protect Habitat Near the Santa Ana River

Jun 20, 2022 | MSHCP, News

With one of the largest networks of horse trails in the nation, the City of Norco has earned the nickname, Horsetown USA. Located along Interstate 15, mainly south of the Santa Ana River, the city has successfully and diligently worked to keep its equestrian and western rural lifestyle intact while also ensuring sustainable development.

Driving down Sixth Street, it is easy to understand Norco’s Horsetown moniker, thanks to horse trails lining the streets and buildings showcasing western architecture. The city also has 400 acres of parkland for residents to enjoy.

Norco has also been an active permittee of the MSHCP, playing a key role in protecting land near the Santa Ana River, which offers essential habitat for MSHCP-protected species, including arroyo chub, Santa Ana sucker, and double-crested cormorant.

Arroyo Chub
Loggerhead Shrike
Western Pond Turtle

To date, the City has conserved 42 acres with the ultimate goal of 140 acres . The Cities of Riverside/Norco Area Plan supports a linkage for several species such as the loggerhead shrike, least Bell’s vireo, and western pond turtle. Within the City of Norco and the overall plan area, the MSHCP seeks to conserve existing wetlands along the Santa Ana River that offer habitat for fan sage scrub and MSHCP-protected birds such as the southwestern willow flycatcher and the western yellow-billed cuckoo. Conserving this land will also protect foraging and breeding habitats for birds and maintain a linkage for bobcats.

Currently, the County of Riverside is constructing the Hamner Avenue Bridge and Widening Project in Norco. The MSHCP played a vital role in streamlining environmental approvals and mitigating potential impacts.

For more information about how the MSHCP helped the City of Norco advance this project, see this story from the May edition of The Vista.