10:00 PM PDT on Tuesday, April 19, 2011

By ERIN WALDNER
The Press-Enterprise

Seven years in the making, the Wildwood Creek Basin in Yucaipa is operational.

It is designed to capture storm water runoff, thereby helping protect downstream properties from flooding, and replenish the groundwater aquifer.

“This is a wonderful day and a great, successful day for the city of Yucaipa,” said San Bernardino County Supervisor Neil Derry.

Derry was among the dignitaries at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday afternoon at the basin.

The Wildwood Creek Basin takes up 25 acres along Wildwood Canyon Road and includes three basins — basically giant holes in the ground.

“We fully anticipate that several properties immediately adjacent and downstream of the project will be completely removed from the flood plain and relieved of the costly burden of flood-insurance requirements,” Yucaipa Mayor Dick Riddell said.

Although the basin is operational, some work remains. Riddell said trees and shrubs will be planted, the parking lot paved and the road widened to include a right-hand turn lane into the site. The work will be done this summer.

Riddell said 7,000 feet of fencing will be built along the basin’s maintenance roads, which double as multipurpose trails. During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, a group could be seen in the distance walking a dog on the road.

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