Since the late 1960s, Redlands Shooting Park, located just west of Orange Avenue and along the south bank of the Santa Ana River wash in the city of Redlands has been depositing lead shot into the wash. Approximately 10 years ago with the construction of the Seven Oaks Dam, the area of the wash into which the lead shot has been historically deposited was designated an endangered species habitat preserve as replacement for property lost to the Dam construction. Two years ago, Redlands Shooting Park received notification from the Environmental Protection Agency that it could no longer deposit lead shot into the preserve. In response to that notification, and as a mitigation to prevent future depositing of lead shot into the river wash, Redlands has constructed a 1300 foot long and 40 foot high specially designed ballistic shot curtain to prevent lead shot from being deposited into the river wash.
Historically, from time to time prior to the designation of the river wash as a preserve, lead reclamation contractors would remove the lead shot from the river wash. However, now that the property has been designated a preserve, the commercial reclamation mining of the lead shot cannot be permitted because it would destroy the endangered species habitat. However, members of the general public have discovered the lead shot in the river wash and have undertaken upon themselves to mine the lead shot in small quantities by hand. In so doing, they have been trespassing on the preserve property and also on the gun club property and destroying the habitat in the process. The illegal lead the mining is being done at night between the hours of 10 PM and 6 AM.
Over the past several months, the gun club owner has made numerous reports to the Redlands Police Department and some of the lead gleaners have been arrested. I think that it is safe to say that being arrested is not a new experience for these people and it does not present a significant deterrent in and of itself. Further, the Redlands police do not seem interested in enforcing the trespassing laws on the County property in the river bottom itself. As such, it would seem that it would fall to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department to enforce the trespassing laws on the County property in the river bottom.
The river wash preserve is owned by the County of San Bernardino. The parcel line for the property actually extends over the river levee onto the gun club property. The majority of the gun club property is owned by the Bear Valley Water District.
On Wednesday, August 28, there was a general review of the illegal lead mining by representatives of several government agencies, inclusive of San Bernardino County, involved with the preserve and the general environmental protection process. Significant concern was raised about the illegal mining operations. These agencies are being copied with this general review.
On behalf of Redlands Shooting Park has no interest in trying to reclaim any of the lead in the river wash itself. However, reclaiming the lead that is being caught by the shot curtain is what is providing the cash flow to amortize the $150,000 installation cost of the shot curtain. Because of the lead gleaning in the river wash, the gleaners are coming onto the gun club property and stealing the shot that is being collected by the shot curtain. Obviously, if the illegal mining was not taking place in the river wash these people would not be sneaking over the levee to steal the lead shot on the gun club property. Consequently, we
would like to ask the sheriff department to enforce the trespassing laws on the County property and the illegal lead mining activities by enforcing the applicable laws up to and including the destruction of endangered species habitat. With this enforcement and the fact that no additional lead of consequence is being deposited in the river wash it is our hope and expectation that these activities would cease on both the County property and the gun club property. We are more than happy to cooperate in any way possible to effect this enforcement. Thank you for your consideration.