Friends of the San Dieguito
River Valley

posted 03/06/18
Photo © Ann Gardner

The 24-acre site pictured above contains documented wetlands or more specifically "fresh water emergent wetlands" that attract migratory birds at different times of the year. It is also the site of a proposed 165,667 square foot residential care facility with 172 surface parking spaces that would require raising the site 12-14 feet to keep the buildings out of the flood plain.

The site, located between the Soccer Fields and Via de la Valle just across El Camino Real east from Mary's Tack Shop, is currently zoned for very low density, residential, open space, natural resource based park or agricultural uses, and is part of Prop A lands which require a public vote to alter the zoning. Furthermore intermediate care and nursing facilities are specifically not permitted on Prop A lands. However staff in the Development Service Department, City of San Diego, allegedly says this prohibition could be removed by an amendment to the Municipal Code by, evidently, the City Council.

We are concerned that documented wetlands, a Proposition passed by the voters to manage growth of urban development in non-urban areas, as well as zoning could be so easily tossed aside. In January 2017 the Friends provided information to the City that we feel must be considered in their Environmental Impact Report on the proposed project. As of March, 2018 we have yet to see a Draft EIR that is required to respond to all submitted concerns and make a determination whether or not the project is able to mitigate for what we see as irreversible environmental impacts in the San Dieguito River Valley.


Recent hearing before Judge Pollack on the Surf Cup Lease

posted 03/06/18
On February 16, 2018 there was a hearing before Judge Pollack pertaining to nearly 150 City documents, stretching back to the original grant deed in 1982, which FSDRV wants to use in its case but which the City deems inappropriate.  Judge Pollack adjourned the session without making a decision.  

A summary of our position is HERE.

San Dieguito Monthly Bird Count
posted 01/15/18
8 years of Data
courtesy San Dieguito River Park
January 2010 - December 2017

The San Dieguito Monthly Bird Count identified 103 species in December. No new bird species were seen this month, so the cumulative species total after 8 full years of bird surveys remains at 235.

According to bird count leader Jayne Lesley, some interesting birds seen were Loggerhead Shrikes in three areas; Clark’s and Western Grebes in the area east of the freeway and north of the river; Canada Geese, Snow Goose, Ibis, and a Cinnamon Teal in the Del Mar Horsepark and Surf Cup sports fields area; Horned and Eared Grebes in the tidal basin west of the freeway and south of the river; American Avocets and a Yellow Warbler in the area west of the freeway all the way to the beach; and Juncos and a Golden-crowned Sparrow in the Crest Canyon and Old Grand Avenue Bridge area. Data recorder Joni also noted a record 48 California Gnatcatchers were seen in 4 of the 5 areas.

Click here to view 8 years of data.

Take a Walk on the Wild Side

Imagine that this was once the location of a parking lot for the Fairgrounds.  Thanks to the persistence of many individuals and organizations, and particularly those noted in the article below we have a restored wetland with its own distinct ecosystem including new birds, some “we have never seen before” one River Park volunteer said. Take time out for a walk either on the Boardwalk or along the Coast to Crest Trail, both begin off Jimmy Durante Blvd. across from the Del Mar Fire Station.

It Took an Army:
Editorial from the July 2017 Sandpiper
Click here for the Sandpiper editorial
Past President Jaqueline Winterer
Battled the Fair Board
on behalf of the Environment
Click here to read an article about Jacqueline
in the March 2012 Sandpiper

posted November 6, 2017
Q:  My family lives walking distance from the polo fields and the Surf Cup is destroying this beautiful piece of land. The angry parents speeding in and out so that their kids can play soccer in this overpriced league is so destructive. I'm sure you know this already so my question is; how can we get involved? I'm a working mom with so little time as is but they are turning the property into a concrete jungle."

A: It is encouraging to hear from someone who wants to get involved and help. We have filed a lawsuit against the City of San Diego and Surf Cup Sports for failure to conduct an Environmental Impact Report, which "identifies and examines the likely environmental effects of the continuing operations of an existing facility and proposes measures to avoid, mitigate, or offset them."

 I think the best thing you can do is write letters.  Write as many as you have time for, both to the city, and to the media.

If you have friends who are similarly angered or concerned, encourage them to also write letters: about the increase in traffic congestion, about what you see as degradation of the property from an environmental point of view, about the massive increase in use of the property, from polo and a few soccer and lacrosse tournaments per year, to soccer practices 4-5 days a week, every week, and paid parking events every single weekend.

Again, your outreach is highly appreciated.

Surf Cup Complaint Contacts.

  Surf Cup Sports: Final Executed Lease - posted October 20, 2017

San Dieguito River Watershed

San Dieguito River Watershed.  Courtesy JPA

From the mountains to the sea, the 55-mile-long San Dieguito River originates at Volcan Mountain in the Cleveland National Forest.  From there, it meanders through Lake Sutherland, San Pasqual Valley, Lake Hodges, the Del Dios Gorge and the San Dieguito Lagoon to the river’s mouth in Del Mar.  The river and its major tributaries flow through sensitive natural habitats, including oak/pine woodlands, sage scrub, and coastal wetlands, creating a network of critical wildlife habitats.


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