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Temecula Creek

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Title: Temecula Creek  
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Subject: Temecula, California, Cleveland National Forest, Aguanga, California, Rivers of Southern California
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Temecula Creek

Temecula Creek
Temecula River, Aguanga Creek[1]
Country United States
State California
Region San Diego County, Riverside County
 - left Kohler Canyon, Rattlesnake Creek, Cottonwood Creek, Long Canyon, Kolb Creek, Pechanga Creek
 - right Chihuahua Creek, Tule Creek, Wilson Creek
City Temecula
 - location Aguanga Mountain in the Cleveland National Forest, San Diego County
 - elevation 4,200 ft (1,280 m)
 - coordinates  [1]
Mouth Confluence with Murrieta Creek, forming Santa Margarita River
 - location 0.5 miles southeast of Temecula, Riverside County
 - elevation 951 ft (290 m) [1]
 - coordinates  [1]

Temecula Creek runs 32.6 miles (52.5 km)[2] through southern Riverside County, California, USA, past the rural communities of the Temecula Valley along the State Route 79 corridor, such as Aguanga, and ending 0.5 miles (0.80 km) southeast of the city of Temecula. The creek is filled with boulders, and is typically dry and sandy. It is a relatively undeveloped coastal-draining watershed.[3] Until the 1920s water flowed in Temecula Creek year-round.[4]


A Luiseño Indian rancheria named Temeca or Temeko was named as early as 1785. In 1828 Temecula became the name of a rancho of Mission San Luis Rey. Alfred Kroeber noted that the name may be derived from the Luiseño word temet meaning "sun".[5] The village of Temecula originated on a bluff on the south bank of Temecula Creek opposite the old Wolf's Store according to an 1853 survey.[6]

In 1948, the owners of the Vail Ranch built a 132-foot-high (40 m) dam on Temecula Creek, the Vail Lake Dam, approximately 10 miles (16 km) above the confluence with the Santa Margarita River. Today the lake is a private recreational use area.


Temecula Creek originates on the north slope of Aguanga Mountain, flows northeast 1 mile (1.6 km) to Dodge Valley, where it continues northwest through Dodge Valley, Oak Grove Valley, Dameron Valley, Aguanga Valley, Radec Valley, Butterfield Valley, to Vail Lake Reservoir, after which it flows southwest through Paula Valley to Temecula Valley where it joins Murrieta Creek.[1] Temecula Creek has a slightly larger drainage area than Murrieta Creek. The Santa Margarita River begins at the confluence of the two creeks.[7]

With the encroachment of homes on both sides of Temecula Creek, portions may be channelized.

Tributaries of Temecula Creek


Biologically diverse, supporting both coastal and desert fauna and flora, it is bounded by the Agua Tibia Wilderness area and the Cleveland National Forest. The creek supports coastal sage scrub, including Jojoba, alluvial fan scrub, mesquite bosque mix, Coast Live Oak woodland, and mature Fremont Cottonwood-willow woodland.[8]

In addition to riparian breeders, birds include Least Bell's Vireo, Nuttall's quail, Ladder-backed woodpecker, and California and Gambel's quail. Arroyo Southwestern Toad are also found in Temecula Creek.[8]

North American beaver (Castor canadensis) living on Temecula Creek, for example at its confluence with Murrieta Creek, may gradually raise the water table and return portions of the stream to perennial flow.[9] However, cattle grazing along Temecula Creek have injured its understory.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d e U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Temecula Creek
  2. ^ U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map, accessed March 16, 2011
  3. ^ "Projects & Plans - Land Management Plan". USDA Forest Service. Retrieved 2007-11-29. 
  4. ^ Leland E. Bibb (Fall 1991). "Pablo Apis and Temecula". The Journal of San Diego History. Retrieved June 4, 2010. 
  5. ^ Erwin G. Gudde, William Bright (2004). California Place Names: The Origin and Etymology of Current Geographical Names. University of California Press. p. 389. Retrieved 2011-12-05. 
  6. ^ Leland E. Bibb (Summer 1972). "The Location of the Indian Village of Temecula". The Journal of San Diego History 18 (3). Retrieved 2007-11-29. 
  7. ^ "Santa Margarita, CA, Murrieta Creek to Sandia Creek Rd. (Temecula Gorge)". Retrieved 2007-11-29. 
  8. ^ a b c "Site Profile". Audubon Society. Retrieved 2007-11-29. 
  9. ^ Dick Newell (2010). "Analyzing Beaver Track and Sign". Retrieved 2011-12-05. 
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