Hemet/San Jacinto Multipurpose Constructed Wetlands Project

The Hemet/San Jacinto Multipurpose Constructed Wetlands was designed to focus on reclaimed water treatment, migratory and resident waterfowl and shorebird habitat enhancement, wildlife diversity, and public education and recreation opportunities. A cooperative effort by the US Bureau of Reclamation, the National Biologic Service, and the Eastern Municipal Water District, the one million gallons/day system occupies about 26 acres of the 50 acre site. The design is a three phase (marsh/pond/marsh) integrated system consisting of five separate wetlands treatment units, a combined open water and marsh habitat area, and a final polishing wetlands. Secondary reclaimed water from the H/SJ RWRF is distributed to the five wetland treatment units, then is recombined in the central area to flow thorough the open pond prior to flowing through the final wetland which combines all flows to remove biological input produced in the open water area. From the air, the system is "amoeba-shaped" and, on the ground the curved lines give the appearance of a natural system.


Constructed wetlands have a wide range of benefits. They can protect and extend the existing water supply. Constructed wetlands designed to treat secondary effluent will directly affect the reclaimed water supply. If water produced from the wetlands is of suitable quality to be recharged into groundwater aquifers, diminishing groundwater resources can be supplemented, or in some areas, reclaimed water can be recharged as part of a groundwater remediation program.

Environmental Benefits:

Located along the Pacific Flyway, the critical migratory corridor connecting Alaska and Canada to Latin America, this wetlands provides vital habitat for migratory and resident waterfowl and shorebirds. Opportunities for wildlife enhancement were considered in the arrangement of wetlands components and environmental features have been specifically designed to increase habitat diversity and wildlife propagation. More than one hundred different species of birds have been observed using the site since 1990. See our Bird Checklist.

Other Benefits:

Opportunities abound for public use. Schoolchildren use the site as an environmental science lab, and ecological field trips are popular. Colleges and universities utilize the site for research, class tours, and as an outdoor classroom and laboratory. Public interest in the site is increasing. It is well known among bird watchers and is one location used by the Audubon Society of the annual Christmas Bird County. The Calif. Waterfowl Assoc. and So. Calif. Ducks sponsored a Wetlands habitat Improvement Day during which they built and installed nesting areas. A community fundraising effort is underway to provide public amenities including a Nature Center, trail improvements, signs, and benches and tables.

Research Facility

This 7.8 acre site, located southeast of the large wetlands, includes:

  1. Two half-acre nursery cells for wetlands plant propagation;
  2. Eight 50x230' research cells for on-going wetlands research. Four of the cells are fully vegetated and four are three phase cells containing an open water area; and
  3. A Reverse Osmosis/Saline Vegetated marsh Pilot Study. EMWD is interested in the use of desalting units for reclaiming brackish groundwater. This pilot study is evaluating the quality of the reject stream from the RO unit, the impacts of the source water on RO technology, the ability of the reject stream to sustain saline vegetated marshes, and changes in the reject stream characteristics as it passes through the marshes. (This phase of the project is ended.)

Research is being conducted by the National Biological Service, the US Geological Survey, University of California Riverside, and Calif. State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

Joan Thullen (BRD/USGS) had a grant/contract with Bill Walton of UCR for research on the use of native fish for mosquito control.

Doug Andersen (BRD/USGS) has a grant/contract with Laszlo Szijj of Cal Poly Pomona for research evaluating wildlife utilization of the various habitat features of the demo wetland.

Jim Sartoris (BRD/USGS) has a cooperative agreement with the University of Colorado - Boulder for Lesley Smith to do research analyzing nitrogen losses from the demo wetlands.

Jim Setmire of the Bureau of Reclamation area office in Temecula has one or more grants out, and so did Eric Stiles of the Bureau of Reclamation technical service center in Denver - you need to contact them for details.

Besides these grants, there are various agency researchers doing their own work on the EMWD wetlands, including: USGS Biological Resources Div. = Joan Thullen, Doug Andersen, Jim Sartoris, and Del Nimmo; USGS Water Resources Div. = Larry Barber; Bureau of Reclamation = Eric Stiles

Cooperating Scientists:

Department Funding Agency Project
University of California, Riverside
David M. Crohn, Biosystems Engineer Environmental Sciences USDI/Bureau of Reclamation
Contact: Jim Setmire
Mathematical model for design and management of constructed wetlands.
Marylynn V. Yates Environmental Sciences
Bill Walton Entomology Department University-wide Mosquito Research Program.
Contact: Joan Thullen
Ecology of Mosquitoes in Constructed, Multipurpose Wetlands: Influence of Vegetation and Vegetation Management Practices on Mosquito Populations
Cal Poly Pomona
Laszlo Szijj Biological Sciences BRD/USGS
Contact: Doug Anderson
Evaluating wildlife utilization of the various habitat features.
University of Colorado, Boulder
Lesley Smith Center for Cooperative Studies in Environmental Sciences BRD/USGS
Contact: Jim Sartoris
Analyzing nitrogen losses.

Web Sites related to this wetlands project:



17 Case Studies of Constructed Wetlands (Reference EPA832-R-93-005, September 1993)

State Wetland
Oregon Hillsboro (Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve)
Cannon Beach
California Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary
Marin Co. (Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District
Hayward Marsh (Union Sanitary Dist.)
Martinez (Mt. View Sanitary Dist.)
Nevada Incline Village
Arizona Show Low, and Pinetop/Lakeside
Illinois Des Plaines River
Michigan Houghton Lake
South Carolina Grand strand (Carolina Bays)
Alabama Fort Deposit
Mississippi West Jackson County
Florida Orlando Easterly Wetlands Reclamation

A few good sites:

Organized by State:


Delta Wetlands Project-California
CWA Programs and Waterfowl Resources
California's Wetlands
Wetlands are transitional lands between terrestrial and aquatic systems where the water table is usually at or near the surface or the land is often covered by shallow water during some parts of the year.
Wildflower Photo Collection
A collection of some 12,000 color photographs of native California wildflowers assembled by the late Brother Alfred Brousseau. (Excellent photos!)


EPA Region 4 Wetland Home Page


Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge
This program is under the direction of the U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service in a joint effort with the State of Maine. When completed, the refuge will consist of 7,435 acres of salt marsh and adjacent fresh water habitat in ten divisions between Kittery and Cape Elizabeth.


Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust
PTLT is named in part after the Patuxent River. While PTLT's activities extend well beyond the Patuxent, this river, the only major tributary of the Chesapeake Bay lying entirely within Maryland, is the primary feature shared by the five counties the Land Trust serves.


Grassy Point
Grassy Point is an area of over 100 acres of wetland and shallow open water habitat located in the St.Louis River Estuary in Duluth, Minnesota just off the westernmost point of Lake Superior. This wetland complex, which includes shallow water with submergement and emergent plants, shrub swamp and even forested wetland types, is home to a wide variety of fish, birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and other wildlife.


The Riparian and Wetland Research Program (RWRP)
The Riparian and Wetland Research Program is an arm of the Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station within the School of Forestry at The University of Montana, Missoula that deals with issues relating to the ecology and management of riparian and wetlands of the state and the region.


The Olentangy River Wetland Research Park
The Olentangy River Wetland Research Park at The Ohio State University is designed to be one of the most comprehensive wetland research and education facilities in the nation at a major university. It is located on a 22-acre site owned by The Ohio State University, immediately north of the Columbus campus.


Texas Wetland Information Network
The goal of the Texas Wetland Information Network (WetNet) project is to allow easier access to online wetland-related information. Funded by a grant from the Wetland Office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region 6, WetNet will enhance the wetland protection capabilities of state and federal regulatory agencies operating in Texas, and will provide accurate and up-to-date information to local governments, universities, and the general public. (Has lots of Federal links.)
Wetlands in El Paso County
Where the standing waters of ponds and reservoirs meet land, cattail marshes flourish, attracting nesting birds, hatching insects, fish, amphibians, reptiles, and rodents, all desirable heron meals. Ephemeral puddles used as breeding sites by several species of frogs and toads also attract herons.


Scott M. Matheson Wetlands Preserve in Moab, Utah


The Wetland Ecosystem Team
The Wetland Ecosystem Team (WET), located at the University of Washington, School of Fisheries, conducts research on wetland ecology and restoration. The research focuses particularly on estuaries of the Pacific Northwest.

Government sites:

USGS Midcontinent Ecological Science Center

Public Outreach and Education Project: Several studies relating to wetland restoration.

EPA Wetlands-Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds


The Wetlands Regulation Center

Summary: as a service to all persons interested in the laws, policies and regulations concerning activities regulated under Sections 401 and 404 of the Clean Water Act in waters of the United States, including wetlands.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

National Wetlands Inventory

US Army Corps of Engineers

Wetlands Research and Technology Center


The University Field Station
The University Field Station (Delta Marsh), a biological station of the Faculty of Science at the University of Manitoba (Winnipeg, Canada), is located on the south shore of Lake Manitoba (9823'W, 5011'N). It borders Delta Marsh, a "Wetland of International Significance" under the Ramsar Convention, that is one of the largest pristine freshwater marshes in North America.

Also, if you have progress reports or presentations related to EMWD's Wetlands you wish posted at this site please contact us.

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