Friends of the San Dieguito
River Valley


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Proposed developments in the western part of the San Dieguito River Valley threaten its scenic, ecological and open space resources. 

The Friends have several openings on our Board of Directors and we invite interested persons to join us.  We are a 501c4 organization that advocates for completion of the Coast-to-Crest Trail from the Morgan Run Club in Rancho Santa Fe west to the beach at Del Mar, and the adjacent wetlands. Our 501c4 status allows us to engage in political and lobbying activity, unlike our affiliates.

posted 4/30/2022
Graphic shows multi-use trail crossing under new bridge.
CIty of San Diego Graphic.

The El Camino Real and Bridge Widening Project is going to begin later this summer, 17 years after it was first proposed by the City of San Diego. Hikers, bicyclists and riders can finally look forward to a continuous working trail along the northern shore of the San Dieguito River, under a new bridge at El Camino Real. The project will include restoration of the currently eroded trail just west of El Camino Real. 

Community groups asked for changes in the original plan which included an 84 (now 60)-ft. wide Via de la Valle, raised 24-foot wide concrete medians, turnouts and traffic signals.  The new design changes all that AND incorporates the communities’ recommendation to underground utility poles on the south side of Via de la Valle. The changes were made based on the communities desire’ to retain the river valley’s “pastoral character” while raising the bridge above the 100-year flood plain level and implementing bike lanes, equestrian trails and crossing on the River Park’s multi-use trail.

posted 3/28/2022

Support for the Riverpath has come from the City of Del Mar, the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy, the County of San Diego, Malk Nature Fund, REI and generous gifts from the Conservancy's donors.  Photo courtesy of the Conservancy.

A draft environmental study for extending River Path Del Mar beyond the Grand Ave Overlook finds the project will not have a significant impact on the lagoon environment with only minor mitigation measures needed.  This means once the public review period is closed on April 1, 2022 the City of Del Mar may approve the study and begin plans to extend the existing trail southeast along the southern side of San Dieguito Drive for one-half mile to the Crest Canyon Trailhead.  This one half mile link will provide a continuous trail through Crest Canyon, across Del Mar Heights Road, through the Torrey Pines Extension, Carmel Valley Road and Torrey Pines Reserve on the Ocean. A remarkable link, made up of a single, five foot wide decomposed granite path and six foot wide boardwalk path along the lagoon, that realizes the dream of a complete loop around Del Mar’s perimeter as envisioned in their 1976 Community Plan!  “The project will enhance access to outdoor recreation opportunities such as walking, bicycling, bird watching and photography,” according to the City.  Construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2023.

posted 3/06/2022
Courtesy pf SANDAG.

The orange circle seen on your left off I-5 just after the Via de la Valle exit ISN”T the site of new development.  It encloses 84 acres laid out for expansion of the San Dieguito Lagoon and wetlands restoration that has been many years in planning.  The restoration is converting former agricultural fields to saltwater wetlands and, according to SANDAG, a partner agency with Caltrans and the San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority (JPA) will “enhance and maintain the natural flood control channel.” The project builds on the restoration efforts of Southern California Edison (SCE) that began in 2011 and will include the plating of native species, maintenance of adjoining wetlands and relocation of utility poles into an existing utility corridor.

Construction work requires the closure of the Dust Devil Trail to public access Mondays through Fridays, open on Saturdays and Sundays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. through March and from April-September from 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on the weekends.

posted 1/19/2022

A new Horse Park may open as early as late summer.  The 22nd Agricultural District has conditionally approved Dale Harvey, CEO of West Palms Events, to reopen Horse Park, the popular equestrian site that was abruptly closed a year ago due mainly to funding needed to implement water filtration requirements. After considering several options last fall, the 22nd DAA, which owns the property off Via de la Valle, issued a Request for Proposals for someone else to manage the facility.

According to Carla Hayes, Friends of Del Mar Horsepark co-founder, Harvey plans to bring back Horse Park as a world-class event facility that meets water quality requirements, improves arena footing, horse stalls and other existing buildings that build on its reputation for therapeutic riding programs and a non-profit scholarship program for kids. At its January meeting the Board was informed by staff that pending approval by California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the Regional Water Control Board, the facility may open later this summer.

The San Dieguito River Park’s Joint Powers Association (JPA) sent a letter soon after the Park was closed “offering total support for continuation of the facility…representing 60 acres of open space use adjacent to the San Dieguito River (and) its equestrian use is supported by the San Dieguito River Park mission.”

posted 1/05/2022
Location of the proposed nursing facility is adjacent to the existing Evangelical Formosa Church in top photo and at black square on graphic above. Photo by Ann Gardner.

We are notified by the City of San Diego Development Services that St. John Garabed Church wants to build a nursing facility on the empty lot next to their yet-to-be-built church. As a result, the City is seeking input on what should be covered in the required Environmental Impact Report.

The empty lot is adjacent to a Multiple-habitat Planning Area to the east and the San Dieguito River Park open space with access to the Dust Devil Trail to the west. The property is zoned for Agricultural or very low density housing. Nursing facilities are allowed with a Conditional Use Permit.  Due to COVID there will not be a public meeting to provide the opportunity for community input on what the EIR should cover, but the project description and possible impacts are provided in a youtube video that can be accessed at

The same URL has a link to provide comments by January 14.

posted 10/07/2021

Shawna Anderson, Executive Director of the River Park,
points to the planned extension of the Coast to Crest Trail.
Photo by Ann Gardner.

Five More Miles

In October, the San Dieguito River Park Trails Committee walked an unfinished segment of the Coast to Crest Trail that runs between the San Dieguito River and the Surf Cup Soccer fields, noting stakes marking where the trail is to be completed by Surf Cup Sports. The San Diego City-owned property, originally known as the Polo Fields, was leased to Surf Cup Sports in 2016.  Construction of this trail section is the responsibility of the lessee. Although delayed for several years, trail construction is anticipated to be underway starting November 2021. The San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority staff is working with Surf Cup Sports representatives to finish this important segment of the Coast to Crest Trail.

Beginning at El Camino Real the trail will run east for 1.3 miles to the Morgan Run golf course to connect to another segment of Coast to Crest Trail currently underway, called the Osuna segment. This one-mile section, to be constructed by the JPA using state grant funds and private donations received in 2020 will include a trail crossing over the San Dieguito River on a 160-foot long bridge and an additional short section of trail to reach San Dieguito Road. Finalizing the trail route, permitting, compliance with CEQA, and construction is anticipated to be complete by 2024. The trail is then planned to go along the San Dieguito Road right of way to the Black Mountain trail staging area that also connects to the Lusardi Creek County Preserve. 
In total, these new segments will add approximately 5 miles to the existing 49 miles of the planned 71-mile regional Coast (beginning at Del Mar) to Crest (at Volcan Mountain) public trail for walkers, bicyclists and equestrians.

posted 10/07/2021
Worden Salutes Winterer

The Friends' indelible past president is recognized by the Del Mar Deputy Mayor Dwight Worden during the opening ceremonies of the new Ranger Station last month.  A leader on all fronts for protecting and enhancing the River Valley Jacqueline's efforts, beginning in 1986, predate the creation of the River Park Joint Powers Authority (JPA) of which Worden is now Chair, and the River Park Conservancy.  Watch a video of the tribute recorded by Jeff Carmel.

Click below to watch the video.

posted 08/24/2021
Save the Date: Sunday 9/12
from 9am to 1pm.
The new San Dieguito Lagoon Coastal Ranger station off Via de la Valle at San Andres Drive is celebrating its opening with activities for all ages and interest on Sunday September 12 from 9 a.m.- 1 p.m. Click on the link below to get all the exciting details including live music, educational booths, native animals and guided bird watching. 
Click here for full flyer
posted 08/01/2021
South of the mouth, then and now
Del Mar's train station with the mouth of the San Dieguito in the distance. Top 1926. Bottom now.

Jeff Carmel shares a photo of the San Dieguito River in 1912 before construction of the Lake Hodges Dam and the River mouth at Del Mar in 1926 compared to his “now” photo.  He also compares then and now along the river bank with bit of history.

Read more and see more photos at

posted 08/01/2021
National Wetlands Inventory
Click here to view.
posted 07/08/2021
Oysters in the raw

Writer and photographer Jeff Carmel has lived along the San Dieguito River for 35 years and enjoys new river discoveries (on foot and on bicycle) made possible by the Coast to Crest Trail. We are delighted that he will be sharing his discoveries with our readers; the first will be on, who would have guessed, oysters at the Grand Avenue Bridge! 

Go to to read the article and see his photos.


posted 06/12/2021
Horse Park Hurdles

With a unanimous vote, the 22nd District Agricultural Board agreed to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) to bring back equestrian activities as soon as possible at the recently closed Horse Park property on Via de la Valle. The Board was briefed on the possible scenarios for bringing back equestrian activities after the District closed down the facility due to non-compliance with water filtration requirements on the 63-acre site that is adjacent to the San Dieguito River. They chose the RFP option after hearing the Pros and Cons also of the 22nd DAA resuming operation, or a Public Private Partnership.

The most significant stumbling block for resuming as a 22nd DAA operation was the funds needed to implement the water filtration requirements, even though it would be the fastest way to resume Horse Park activities, and ongoing investment into the facilities.  The Public Private Partnership was seen as being the “lengthiest means of resuming equestrian activities” due to questions about how to define the different relationships and “lack of in-house subject matter expertise including legal framework to establish.” Positive points for the RFP included transferring responsibility and risks to a third party while managing one, single-source agreement that could provide cash flow throughout the year or as an annual payment.

Staff hopes to bring back the RFP proposal before the Board by July.

posted 05/06/2021

El Camino Real horizontally in foreground.
Via de la Valle at the right.

Last December, the 22nd Agricultural Association (22nd DAA) discontinued equestrian uses at Horse Park, 64 acres of horse stables, exercise and sand rings and covered arenas for shows and competitions because of runoff issues from the site. Situated between the San Dieguito River and Via de la Valle, Horse Park has been a popular facility, consistent with the River Park’s vision for “recreational uses that have a low impact on the Park’s natural resources and adjacent residential communities.” It sits adjacent to Mary’s Tack and Feed Shop, a veterinarian facility and, most importantly, the Coast to Crest Trail that runs along the River for hikers, equestrians and bicyclists.

The “temporary” closing caused dismay among riders and their families who have enjoyed the facility that also provided substantial revenue to the 22nd DAA, since 1996. Before the District purchased and renamed the property it was Show Park, also an equestrian facility for many years.

Unbeknownst to the 22nd DAA when they purchased the property, the previous owner never sought Coastal Development permits for the property but evidently the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board (SDRWQB)’s waiver allowed Horse Park to continue with “plans” for installing specific waste management measures. That has changed.

In March the DAA received a letter from the Board clarifying that ground water runoff measures and water quality requirements must be “implemented.” The estimate for compliance is $3-$4 million. The Board is now evaluating the costs for implementing the measures required by the Water Board, against revenue from Horse Park and other funding. The Board has identified three potential outcomes: 1) 22nd DAA runs/operates Horse Park; 2) Public/Private partnership and 3) Third-party operator.

In the meantime “Friends of Horse Park” have gathered over 15,000 signatures petitioning the Governor and other California representatives to stop the permanent closure of “our region’s only PUBLIC equestrian facility and last remaining public riding schools.” 

The next 22nd District Board meeting when the issue is expected to be on the agenda is May 11.  We will continue to update our readers.

posted 04/16/2021
While walking east on the Coast to Crest Trail toward the I-5 overpass,we met Yanfen Jiang or “Fenny." Her camera aimed at a nest of Osprey, she captured the Osprey father bringing a good-sized fish to his two chicks.  The mother looked on, then began to feed the fish to her chicks while Dad looked on. Fenny, who lives in nearby Carmel Valley, caught it all in the amazing photos that she has agreed to share with us, along with her captions.  Thank You Fenny!

Daddy coming home with fish
Mom feeding babies
Mom helping the baby start stretching its wings!
This Cloud Has a Silver Lining
posted 02/10/2021

In 2016, the Friends filed a lawsuit against the City of San Diego for failure to require an environmental review before awarding a 28-year contract to Surf Cup Sports for the use of the former Polo Fields.  This lengthy process recently ended in the Appellate Court ruling that a CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) Environmental Review for the lease of the former Polo Fields to Surf Cup was, and is, not required.

The silver lining is that the court's 32-page ruling (see here), which was extremely well written and very comprehensive, clarified some critical points that will guide the Friends and others in continuing to oppose the intensified use of the soccer fields on environmental grounds.

Most importantly, the appellate ruling made it absolutely clear that 25 days of events, NOT 25 events that last multiple days, are allowed.  That was a major bone of contention of this lease and thus, a big win for us.

Going forward, the Friends will endeavor to hold accountable relevant departments within the City of San Diego that oversee the activities of Surf Cup. Our monitoring will help keep members of the JPA Board (such as City Council Member Joe LaCava and County Supervisor Terra Lawson Remer) and San Diego City officials (Mayor Todd Gloria and City Attorney, Mara Elliot) informed of ongoing environmental impacts resulting from Surf Cup activities.

posted 08/16/2020
photo © Stu Smith

“The next time you walk along the (San Dieguito) lagoon path remember to give a thought to blue carbon,” Geoff Criquie, member of the Blue Carbon Subcommittee of the Del Mar Lagoon Committee, advises in his July Del Mar Sandpiper article. His advice is backed up by an article in The American Scientist magazine in an interview with ecosystem ecologist and biogeochemist Ariana Sutton-Grier who says:

“Coastal states and communities have started to recognize the benefits that coastal ecosystems provide…The carbon in these wetlands is almost entirely below ground. You don’t see it.  But coastal wetlands are very impressive carbon sinks per unit area.  They tend to be better carbon sinks than forests,” she explains in the article. “You can get a lot of bang for your buck if you protect or restore coastal wetlands.”

Criquie’s Sandpiper article shines the spot light on the San Dieguito Lagoon in the San Dieguito River Valley: “Blue carbon storage is a…underappreciated facet of these lagoons…” in addition to the benefits of scenery, a refuge for plant and animal species and a protective catchment area during severe weather, he writes.  You can read his complete article at if you click here.  The American Scientist article can be found at their website The magazine is a bimonthly science and technology magazine published by SIGMA XI, the Scientific Research Society. Dedicated to preservation of the lagoon and its resources, the Del Mar Lagoon Committee is an advisory board to the city of Del Mar.

Read complete article about Blue Carbon on the Sandpiper website.
Surf Cup Stalls
posted 11/05/2020
Proposed Multi-use Trail Restoration.
Source City of San Diego.

On October 16 the San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority unanimously approved the Friends request to investigate the lack of work by Surf Cup to restore a segment of the Coast to Crest Trail that runs along their leasehold at El Camino Real and Via de la Valle. The restoration permit, issued in 2011 to the San Diego Polo Club, “is a covenant running with the subject property and all of the requirement and condition of the Permit…shall be binding upon the Permittee and any successor(s) in interest.”  Surf Cup Sports became the successor in the same year, when they were awarded the contract with the City of San Diego. A copy of the Friends letter requesting that the JPA follow up with the City can be found below, along with a copy of JPA attorney, Wayne Brechtel's opinion, which supported the Friends position:

“Surf Cup is obligated to complete the public trail because it is a contractual condition of its Ground Lease and a requirement of a site development permit that runs with the land covered by the Ground Lease.”

Link to full letter in pdf format
More Wetland Restoration
posted 08/02/2020

The San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority (JPA) unanimously approved adding a 13-acre site to the larger restoration plan known as the Lagoon W-19 Restoration Project. Approximately 129,000 cubic yards of material will be removed from the new site, known as the W-6 site, and disposed of at the W-19 disposable site.  Approximately thirteen new acres of tidal wetlands will be established. The addition is consistent with the River Park’s longstanding support of restoration of wetland habitat within the San Dieguito River Valley. SANDAG is responsible for funding the planning, permitting and construction of the project while the City of San Diego is responsible for funding their mitigation portion.

Outlined in red, thirteen acres are added to River Park's
restoration project just east of I-5 at Del Mar.

Freda Reid Tribute
posted 06/14/2020

Freda Reid, a photographer of her beloved San Dieguito River Park and a former member of the Friends Advisory Board, was recently remembered by a request from the Friends of the Yamhelas Westsider Trail in Yamhill, Oregon.  They wanted permission to use her photos on our website of fencing along the Coast to Crest Trail that borders private agricultural land.  “The photos are among the best (we) have seen that illustrate compatible fencing.”

Freda passed away on March 31 but her son Ian, as executor of her will, gave permission for her: “Mom would be very pleased to help support a project such as the Westsider Trail.”  Freda was a research scientist at Scripps Institute of Oceanography and early activist for restoration of the San Dieguito River estuary and well as the progress of the River Valley’s Conservancy’s acquisition and protection of lands in the river valley. 

We remember Freda for her many contributions to the River Valley’s preservation.

Verger's dairy cows.

Freda's "River Valley Views."
Photo Freda Reid.

Coast to Polo Fields Trail
posted 05/29/2020

The “Coast to Polo Fields” trail is a 2.5 mile section of the 70 mile partially completed Coast to Crest Trail that extends east from the Coast to Volcan Mountain near Julian. During the COVID-19 lockdown the completed trail that begins at Jimmy Durante Blvd. in Del Mar and ends at Horse Park near El Camino Real has become a great family friendly destination for bikers and hikers. Along the way we see, once in a while, a Giant Blue Heron, a mother Osprey tending her chicks atop a nesting platform, and swallows swooping to and fro from their nests clinging to the east side of the I-5 bridge. At the San Andres trailhead there is an Interpretive board and going east, the trail goes by the almost ready to open new Ranger’s Station. 

Although this 2.5 mile portion of the trail is not closed, face coverings and distancing is required.

Coast to Crest Trail.
Osprey nest with mom and dad and 2 chicks.
Photo Ann Gardner.
Great Blue Heron. Photo Ann Gardner.
Photo Ann Gardner.
posted 03/17/2020

The Friends are pleased to be part of the Coalition to Preserve the Polo Fields Neighborhood, a grassroots effort to restore the peace, tranquility and rural character of the communities surrounding the 114 acres of open space at Via de la Valle and El Camino Real currently leased by Surf Cup Soccer from the City of San Diego . As a longtime advocate for the preservation of the open space and petitioner of the 2016 lawsuit against the City of San Diego for determining that the Surf Cup Soccer project was exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), we are proud to be one of the neighborhood groups that have come together to persist in objecting to the intensification of uses at the former polo fields and violations of the lease agreement.

Go to to review the Coalition’s goals and activities, get updates and news articles. You can also post your  comments, photos and videos.

The Polo Fields

City of San Diego
Real Estate Assets Department
Addendum “A”
Dated July 15, 2015

Request made 5 years ago for Proposals for the lease of the City-owned property commonly known as "the Polo Fields"
here (or on the reference documents page)
posted 01/31/2020

Jan | Feb | Mar | May | June  | July  |  Sept  | Nov | Dec
State Attorney Xavier Becerra has ordered Surf Cup Sports CEO Brian Enge to Cease and Desist diverting or pumping storm water into the San Dieguito River via a 22nd Agricutural District ditch running along El Camino Real.
posted 12/12/19

Dear Mr, Enge,

The 22nd District Agricultural Association (22nd DAA) owns a parcel of land adjacent the San Diego Polo Fields, which Surf Cup Sports leases from the City of San Diego to operate several soccer fields. The 22nd
DAA has become aware that the Surf Cup Sport is utilizing generators
and other pumping equipment to convey stormwater from the soccer fields across a parking lot and into a drainage system located on the
22nd DAA's properly (see photo below). For the reasons set forth below, you are hereby directed to cease and desist unpermitted and unlawful redirection of stormwater on the 22nd DAA's property.

Continuation here
posted 11/15/19

After about two weeks of digging, heavy equipment has cleared a buildup of sand from the San Dieguito River inlet to restore tidal flushing to the lagoon. Excavators opened the river channel to the ocean on Nov. 12.
As an added benefit, an estimated 16,000 cubic yards of sand has been spread on the beach south of the river mouth to 18th Street.

Up and down north San Diego County, inlets of coastal lagoons are routinely dredged to allow for saltwater exchange that is critical to the wetlands' fragile ecology, which supports thriving communities of birds, marine life and vegetation.

The San Dieguito Lagoon inlet was last dredged in 2017.

The dredging is paid for by Southern California Edison and is part of a mitigation agreement that began around 2003 with a four-year, S100 million restoration of the San Dieguito Wetlands. The project created vast tidal basins west and east of Interstate 5. The utility agreed to the restoration and continued dredging of the river channel to compensate for marine life harmed by the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

Article and photo courtesy City of Del Mar.

posted 9/13/19
Lines to buy wearing apparel at the Surf Cup Sports Vendor Village at City owned open space that does not allow commercial services.

Surf Cup Sports neighbors, fed up with the noise, traffic and commercial uses generated by bigger and more events on the ‘Polo Fields’ are joining forces in hopes of  stopping the unprecedented, blatant commercial use of open space deeded to the citizens of  San Diego. Residents from Del Mar, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe, Del Mar Terrace, Carmel Valley, Whispering Palms, Polo Point and Fairbanks Polo Club attended their first   meeting on September 7.

The soccer fields, once the Polo Fields, located on Via de la Valle at  El Camino Real,  occupy 114  acres of an “open space easement” deeded to the City in 1983 “permitting (only) passive, non-commercial recreational uses such as picnicking, walking, hiking and similar activities; non-commercial recreation uses not involving large assemblages of people or automobiles and shall prevent establishment of enterprises involving large assemblage of people or automobiles, including but not limited to recreational facilities publicly or privately operated.”

The City of San Diego has ignored the complaints of nearby residents for years beginning in the 1990s when the first lessee, San Diego Polo Club, began contracting non-polo events in order to make ends meet.  At the time the City warned the Polo Club that those events were meant to help out only temporarily and could not considered a permanent approval. Polo events were generally very limited and drew about 50 cars to a single event, as specified in the lease.

In 2016 the City awarded a new 28-year lease to Surf Cup Sports. Today as one looks out toward the San Dieguito River Valley on an event day, one sees about 2,000 cars coming and going to the Fields, about 40 port-a- potties, food trucks, a sponsor’s tent and a “vendor village.” At the vendor village attendees form lines to buy wearing apparel and other consumer goods. And the number of scheduled events continues to grow.
Increased use of the Surf Cup property has added thousands of cars making multiple trips along the two lanes of Via de la Valle.  On May 31, 2019, the 22nd Agricultural District submitted a complaint to San Diego Mayor Kevin Falconer citing significant safety issues caused by the traffic and Surf Cup’s refusal to discuss coordinating schedules during the San Diego Fair to address those issues. The City has not responded.

Immediately after the City approved the Surf Cup Soccer lease the Friends filed a lawsuit against the City for failing to require an Environmental Impact Report before awarding the contract to Surf Cup Sports.  We have also submitted requests for Investigation of Code Violations.  The most recent reply from the City’s Real Estate Assets Department said “There is no commercial service being provided on the property. Surf Cup is allowed to sell apparel and miscellaneous retail items; Nexen Tire was a sponsor; food trucks have long been a part of the activities during any of the soccer and lacrosse tournaments played at the property and particularly during Polo Field matches when specific vendors were named sponsors of match days.” 

With City elections approaching, neighbors are encouraged to investigate the positions of the various candidates for City Council and Mayor with regard to Surf Cup Sports. AND contact your local representatives to voice your concerns about the negative impact Surf Cup events are having on your neighborhoods. A list of contact is provided here.

FSDRV continues to believe that the City of San Diego must respect the needs and rights of its citizens. Protection of the San Dieguito River Valley and avoidance of commercialization is something we owe to ourselves and to future generations.

posted 7/26/19

In 2017 after they were awarded a long-term lease for the Polo Fields, San Diego Surf Cup Sports declared in their Facility Updates that they had started “long-term event and facility planning … to restore the property into the premier youth soccer event facility … while decreasing the overall impact to the surrounding community.”  They go on to say that they “…will continue in earnest to improve the facility in order to provide a safe and efficient world-class facility while minimizing our impact to the neighbors, surrounding community, and the environment.”

Unfortunately, it appears that just the opposite has happened. Many of the nearby neighbors are complaining about the increased traffic during events.   One neighbor recently reported being stuck for 20 minutes trying to get onto Via de la Valle from their neighborhood.  On May 31st, the 22nd District Agricultural Association wrote to San Diego Mayor Kevin Falconer that Surf Cup Sports was “unwilling” to work with them to “maximize safety for patrons of the San Diego County Fair and Surf Cup events by ensuring that activities and schedules were coordinated to avoid significant traffic issues on surrounding surface streets which would certainly result in potentially disastrous effects on emergency response (fire, police, medical).”

Read the letter to San Diego Mayor Kevin Falconer here.

Desalination Study
posted 6/02/19
Test well under construction at eastern end of soccer fields.

The Olivenhain Municipal Water District, after drilling a 160-foot well at the south east corner of the property leased by Surf Cup Soccer, is pumping groundwater as part of a desalination study.  Water quality samples will be taken during the next 10-12 months to determine if the District can add about one million gallons a day to their locally sourced drinking water resources without impacting existing water wells in the same area.  The District has received a number of awards for expanding recycled water resources in Rancho Santa Fe and Encinitas.

According to staff, discharge from the well during the testing period will be used to irrigate the Surf Cup’s soccer fields.  Excess water will be discharged to the San Dieguito River near El Camino Real as permitted by the California Water Resources Control Board.  Development of local, sustainable water sources that can be treated to potable standards will help counterbalance the costs and availability of imported water the District said.

New Ranger Station
posted 5/22/19

San Dieguito River Park Principal Planner Shawna Anderson describes the new building on their website:

“Overlooking the San Dieguito Lagoon the 2,400 square foot ranger station will provide ranger offices, an enclosed garage and work yard, and the River Park’s first public restroom (that isn’t a portable!).  Designed for efficiency by Baker Design & Build architects, it will function as a much-needed work area for Park rangers performing maintenance and monitoring of the surrounding trail system and lagoon area. A small conference room will offer a place for meetings, education, and River Park volunteer staging for work on lagoon habitat and trails.”

The Friends have a long-standing agreement to work with the Park to provide Audio-Visual equipment at the new Ranger Station

Last Step River Path
posted 3/29/19

The last step in the River Path Del Mar extension project that will complete one of the last remaining segments of Del Mar’s Scenic Loop Trail was approved by the Del Mar City Council on March 4.  The approval includes accepting $25,000 from the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy to help fund the project.  The first steps of the Project provided pedestrian paths along the north side of San Dieguito Drive, from Jimmy Durante Boulevard to the Grand Avenue Bridge. 

The recently approved extension will extend the River Path from the Bridge to Crest Canyon.  According Del Mar Public Works Director the project is challenging because of limited shoulder space, sloping topography, existing utilities and limited site distance along San Dieguito Drive.  Along with the adjacent restored Lagoon, the restored wetlands on the Fairgrounds former parking lot and the Grand Avenue Bridge, the completed loop adds a pedestrian treasure to the San Dieguito River Park.
posted 3/5/19

With a unanimous vote the Friends are appealing the Final Ruling of Superior Court Judge Pollack denying the Friends petition for a Writ of Mandate requiring the City to comply with CEQA or an Environmental Impact Report for the Surf Cup lease. The appeal will be filed with the 4th District Court of Appeal, District 1.

According to the Superior Court’s website an “appeal is NOT a new trial and the appellate division will not consider new evidence… The appellate division’s job is to review a record of what happened in the trial court and the trial court’s decision, to see if certain kinds of legal errors were made in the case.”

Final Ruling of San Diego Superior Court
Judge Pollack says NO.
posted 2/14/19 - updated 4/01/19
The Friends of the San Dieguito River Valley are deeply disappointed with the final ruling of San Diego Superior Court denying the Friends’ Petition for a Writ of Mandate, which asserted the lease to Surf Cup was improper because it violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
Our case in Superior Court has concluded with the “Notice of Entry into Judgment.”  Exhibit B of the Notice is the judge’s January denial of the Writ. Exhibit A  is the August decision, also favorable to the City, dismissing our fifth cause of action.
Click here for the fifteen-page pdf.
Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony + hike
posted 1/22/19
Three Additional Miles of the Coast to Crest Trail
Saturday, January 26, 10am, Pamo Valley
See star on map below.
Click to enlarge.
posted 1/14/19

To Whom it may concern:

My home is up behind the Polo Fields on Polo Pt.  As all of you know, anyone that lives in this vicinity,  or anyone that has had to travel through it, has been adversely affected by the expanded use of the polo fields by the Surf Cup.  We have consistently reported on the increased noise, traffic, dust, and dirt that the large amount of people, activities and cars this organization has brought to our backyards. But this note is about something new that is happening on the fields. There now seems to be some kind of games going on in the evenings- with bright stadium- like lighting!  I called the city about this months ago and was told the lights have always been there and that they are there to enable underprivileged children to play football on Friday nights.  As charitable (and irrelevant)  as that sounds-  it is not the case- these lights are on during the weeknights and it is adults who are using the fields.  These lights shine directly into my kitchen and bedroom windows - see photo above. 

I have been trying to adopt a positive attitude about the activities on the fields.  Rob Haskell (of SurfCup) has been extremely responsive in the past when I have had to call him due to excessive noise coming from the announcers or music on the fields.  But now these lights really seem to be pushing the envelope and insult even further- neither I,  nor my neighbors,  should have  to feel like we are living at the end of an airport runway.

I appreciate your consideration and response.

Sue Carr


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