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Farmland Mapping and Monitoring Program
1984 to 2008 TIME SERIES
Central Coachella Valley, Riverside County

Land use change in the Coachella Valley area, 1984-2008 

In this Image

Changes in this area are predominantly conversions from Prime Farmland (dark green) and 'Other Land' (grey) to urban (red).  In the transition, Prime Farmland is also seen going idle, becoming grasslands/grazing land (yellow), prior to urbanization.  Information on these changes was gathered from air photos, local comments, and field reconnaissance. The image area represents approximately 120 square miles.

The Inland Empire counties of Riverside and San Bernardino have been among the top urbanizing counties since FMMP began mapping in 1984.  San Bernardino County has averaged over 4,400 new urban acres per year during the 24 year period.  Within the image area, more than 13,500 acres were removed from Prime Farmland; urban land increased by just under 16,000 acres during this timeframe.

A brief history of the Coachella Valley

Historically known for its shifting eolian sands, the Coachella Valley was dotted with palm oases into the 1870's.  Southern Pacific Railroad established a construction camp in the Valley's center in 1876, which evolved into the town of Indio.  Agriculture came to the valley shortly thereafter, and given the unique geology and climate, the Valley became the Date Capital of the United States. Nearly 95% of the U.S. production of dates derives from the Valley. 

Indio is the largest city in the Valley, and has increased just over 200% in population between 1984 and 2008 (26,800 to 80,962).  Other cities within the image include Coachella, La Quinta, and Indian Wells. 

The region's climate is an attraction for residents and winter visitors.  It has become famous for golf communities and resorts, some of world class caliber.  There are now more than 130 courses in the Valley, including public and private facilities.  These facilities have represented as much as 25% of new urban land in Riverside County during recent Important Farmland Map updates.