The Ya'i Heki' Regional Indian Museum tells the story of the monumental State Water Project and focuses on the culture and history of the native peoples of the southern California desert region.
Lake Perris is 1,560 feet (480 m) above sea level and is ringed by hills and small mountains. It impounds 131,400 acre feet (162,100,000 m3) of water behind a 2-mile (3 km) long, 128 foot (39 m) tall, chevron-shaped earthfill dam. The untended areas of Lake Perris may seem rocky and barren at first glance, but harbor a variety of natural wonders.
The predominant plant community, coastal sage scrub, is host to a variety of birds and wildlife. Mule deer, roadrunners, bobcats, coyotes, rabbits, quail, gopher snakes and rattlesnakes may sometimes be seen by day, though they tend to shy away from people. More frequently seen are a wide variety of lizards, rodents, water fowl, and birds of prey. Beautiful displays of wildflowers occur during the rainy season, generally November through April.
The coastal sage scrub community is predominant on the south-facing slopes of the Russell mountains and Bernasconi hills and is characterized by shrubby plants including desert encelia, brittlebush, sagebrush, black sage, white sage, buckwheat, and cacti. Conditions are somewhat shadier on hillsides that face north or northwest so that chaparral plants such as chamise, penstemon, and poison oak are found.