Board elected for 2012-2013
At the Annual General Meeting of the Friends of the San Dieguito River Valley, October 24, 2011, the following slate of officers was elected.
Board of Directors:
President: Maggie Brown (Solana Beach)
Advisors: (A new category of membership for active non-voting Friends
Mary Farrell (Del Mar Heights, San Diego)
Check here for pictures.
Old Camino del Mar Bridge appears!
Look west of the Camino del Mar Bridge at the river mouth. You will see pilings bared by the dredging of the river mouth during the completion of the Lagoon Restoration project .
Should they be removed?
Coastal Rail Project Grant : Seasonal Platform included
The Coastal rail project received a big boost from the US Department of Transportation when Caltrans received an award for $21 million.
It enables early engineering and design of three coastal rail projects which will eventually add a second track to a large portion of the rail system from Orange County to downtown San Diego.
One of the projects impacting the San Dieguito River Valley includes a 1.1 mile second track and seasonal rail platform in Del Mar allowing direct access to the Fairgrounds.
Grant funds will be administered by SANDAG. They will work with the North County Transit District and the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System.
The North Coast Corridor Program is a broader transportation and environmental project which will include two of these funded rail projects.
Dedication of San Dieguito Lagoon Restoration, Nov 7, 2011
After a rainy Sunday the San Dieguito Lagoon sparkled on a sunny Monday morning for the official dedication of the restoration project. A large group gathered to admire the views, to watch the birds, to meet friends made over the 14-year permitting and construction period and to thank all the participants.
SDG&E brought a group of young citizens from south San Diego to introduce them to this project hoping they will, in the future, be amongst those who benefit from this magnificent effort.
Extreme high tides at the lagoon
Southern California Edison created more high marsh as part of the Lagoon Restoration Project. Recent extreme winter high tides of 9 ft. amplitude flooded this area. Photos on October 26, 2011 show low and high tide views at the Grand Avenue Bridge Overview. The last photo shows the San Dieguito River mouth at high tide.
The San Dieguito River Park JPA has received two "Orchid" awards in the annual design contest sponsored by the San Diego Architectural Foundation .
The first, for Architecture, is the San Dieguito River Park Headquarters at 18372 Sycamore Creek Rd.,Escondido. It was designed by Rinehart/Herbst The citation said " It is nicely restrained and elegant, but also striking with an occasional flourish".
The second, for Landscape Architecture , went to the David Kreitzer Lake Hodges Bicycle/PedestrianBridge west of I-15 at Lake Hodges, Rancho Bernado. It was designed by Safdie/Rabines. Its citation said "The project seamlessly blurs the lines between architecture, engineering, landscape architecture and art".
Photos of these structures can be seen at:
CONGRATULATIONS to all and especially to the JPA staff who managed the recovery from the Witch Creek Fire in temporary headquarters.
San Dieguito River flows to the ocean : September 29 2011
On a balmy, late fall afternoon bulldozers broke through the final sand barrier separating the San Dieguito wetlands from the ocean. Lagoon waters rushed by carrying large fish. This is the first time in many decades that full ocean tides will return to the wetlands.
This was a large coastal estuary prior to developments which included a golf course, a computer business , an airport, a wartime blimp station and the current Del Mar Fairgrounds.
The Lagoon Restoration project has been funded by Southern California Edison and SDG& E with Marathon Construction a very competent and supportive contractor. It was required by the Coastal Commission to mitigate the impact on fish populations of the San Onofre nuclear generating station.
Edison is committed to keeping the river mouth open for many years. Its representatives have always been generous and considerate people. It has been a pleasure for local San Dieguito River Park volunteers to be associated with this exciting project and now to see its culmination.
Additional photos of the river mouth opening by Paul Haydu
San Dieguito River dredging continues
The final stages of the restoration project are underway. Sand is being removed from the river west of Durante bridge in order to increase water flow to and from the lagoon area. The river mouth will also be dredged with the objective of moving the outlet further north. Work is being done by Marathon Construction, the prime contractor for the restoration. Photos courtesy of Stu Smith ( on the recent cloudy September days.)
Sewage Fouls Los Pensaquitos
A regional blackout on Sept 8 was responsible for a major sewage spill at the sewage pump station on Roselle St. where about 1.9 million gallons spilled into the Los Penasquitos Lagoon. This resulted in week long closures of local beaches including Torrey Pines, Del Mar and Solana Beach.
San Diego is in the process of looking for the causes of this unusual event and is assessing environmental damage.
Meanwhile all beaches are now open for water contact activities.
California Coastal Commission
The California Coastal Commission has a new Executive Director. Charles Lester, a former political science professor, has been appointed to the position held for the past 26 years by retiring Peter Douglas. He has worked with the Commission since 1997, most recently as senior deputy director and acting director. He has degrees in geochemistry, jurisprudence and social policy as well as a law degree.
22nd DAA Board changes
The 6/13/11 notice of the ouster of three 22nd Ag District Board members by Governor Brown has been followed by the removal of two more and the appointment of five new members .
Each of the replaced members had served well beyond their allotted time. In addition to Barry Nussbaum,Vivian Hardage and Kelly Burt members Charles Kim Fletcher and Patricia Davies have been removed.
They are to be replaced by:
Lisa Barkett vice president of a financial firm from La Jolla who also served up to 2006.
Adam Day is current president of the board.
From Del Mar Councilman Carl Hilliard 8/19/11
The final phase of dredging for the Lagoon project, between the railroad bridge and the river mouth, is due to begin after Labor Day. Equipment will be mobilized on the beach north of the river mouth on September 6th. There was a hiatus in the work because the permit conditions prohibited dredging during the grunion runs that occurred in June and during the heavy beach-use season. It should take approximately one month to dredge the 40,000 cubic yards of sand and deposit it on the beach, mostly on the south side of the river mouth. The dredging will be done with backhoe excavators (v. floating dredges). The inlet channel will be moved to the north and the existing inlet channel will be filled by excavated sand. It is expected that work will be completed during the first week of October.
The final phase of the overall project will be the installation of a rock revetment (a facing to sustain the embankment) on the riverbank along a section of San Dieguito Road. The revetment will protect the bank and the roadway during future flood events. This work is scheduled to start in April and should last for four months.
FSDRV Board meeting of July 25 2011
San Diego Planning Commission/Polo Club - July 14, 2011
The Commission approved the Rancho Santa Fe Polo Club Site Development Permit with a Mitigated Negative Declaration to restore a public trail along the San Dieguito River and impacts to adjacent areas caused by unauthorized grading activity.
The Commission also approved a separate private exercise track for use by the Polo Club. The oval shaped track will be modified to an inverted L shape during Surf Club Tournament and other soccer events.
JPA Citizens’ Advisory Committee Meeting, July 1, 2011
“Reach the Beach” (west of Jimmy Durante Bridge)
JPA Headquarters building at 18372 Sycamore Creek Road, Escondido. The American Institute of Architects gave a merit award for the new building.
Project Review Committee
New Wetland Restoration Project on the former Boudreau property.
Loop Trail to be completed in February 2012.
California High-Speed Rail
The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) recently hosted several community open houses along the proposed route. The High-Speed rail project plans to develop an 800 mile track from San Francisco to San Diego via the Central Valley. The track will be grade- separated precluding the need for horns. The trains will be electrically powered and operate at speeds of 220 mph (less in urban areas ). Across Lake Hodges and the San Dieguito River the rail alignment will be located east of I-15 and elevated on pylons with minimum impact to the valley.
The Authority will be sharing the results of the Preliminary Alternatives Analysis (PAA) Report. The PAA Report is the first step in a two-step process to identify the range of alternatives to be carried forward for detailed engineering and the Environmental Impact Report/ Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS). The next step will be the Supplemental Alternatives Analysis Report, which will be completed in 2011-2012.
The goal of the open houses was to present current plans and obtain input before CHSRA initiates the detailed environmental/engineering analysis later in 2012 (subject to funding availability). Agency and public input will be used in the ongoing refinement of alignment alternatives, station locations and design options.
More information at www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/home.aspx
JPA/CAC Trails Committee meeting June 21, 2011
1.Coast to Crest Trail: Clevenger Canyon extension of the Mule Hill Trail. Passes through orange groves and steep slopes but trail is possible. Will require purchase of significant number of orange trees for removal, engineering expertise, probable Caltrans agreements and, of course, grant funds.
2.Polo Club Trail: See below.
3. FSDRV Mileage marker project: In lieu of measuring distances using GPS the JPA suggests taking measurements from aerial photos keyed to GIS data base, to be done as a student class project. Use of the data by first responders, sheriff etc. must be considered. No design has been selected so far.
4.Status of trails: Lagoon Trail should be open in the next 2-3 months once fencing is installed.
Mesa Loop Trail may require amending the coastal permit.
Horsepark Trail will be built soon by the 22nd Ag District. Some eucalyptus trees will be removed and fencing added.
Pamo Valley Trail San Dieguito RP Conservancy may use part of a recent donation for permitting and drawings followed by fundraising for construction costs.
From Carol Carr and Stu Smith
June Bird Count Walk
New species observed: Yellow-crowned Night Heron: Total for month: 89. Count total 2010-2011: 189
San Dieguito River Park JPA Board meeting of June 17, 2011
The 2001/12 Budget was passed.
San Diego is still unable to pay its assessment causing serious problems for the JPA. Del Mar and Escondido will help by reverting to the original assessments which were reduced for the past two years. It is necessary to borrow from the Endowment Fund but to maintain the principal.
Jacqueline Winterer reported on the Coastal Commission meeting she attended. The Board addressed the fairgrounds request for a Coastal Development Permit for a large tent on its property near to the freeway. It was pointed out that the Fair Board has many non-permitted structures already. The CCC Board and asked for a list of these with plans for mitigation. The CDP was not granted.
The JPA is joining with Solana Beach and Del Mar in a lawsuit related to the recent 22nd Ag District Master Plan EIR approval.
The SD Planning Commission considered a plan from the Polo Club to
San Dieguito River Park personnel, the Polo Club and others were supportive of the project which has been under discussion for many years. Environmental factors were lauded by the commissioners and resource agencies have already given approval.
However one commissioner is particularly interested in soccer use at the field and had a plan which would intensify the soccer use and possible other activities.
The item was continued until July 14 for further consideration.
California Coastal Commission meeting in Marina Del Rey, June 16, 2011
A request from the 22nd District Agricultural Association for a Coastal Development Permit was on the agenda. The DAA wishes to place a 6650 sq.ft. tent structure for golf uses and other developments on the Fairgrounds Surf and Turf property. Dustin Fuller presented the project. Dawn Rawls (Lagoon Committee) and Jacqueline Winterer(Friends of SD River valley) addressed the issue of the relationship between the CCC and the 22nd DAA with respect to the lack of permit approvals for many completed projects over many years. The CCC Board decided to postpone the CDP hearing until the Fairboard has completed requirements to remedy this situation.
Ouster of DAA Fair Board members
The Union Tribune reports the ouster of 3 members of the Fair Board by Governor Brown.
1. Barry Nussbaum: Long time chair of the Board who was the main architect of the Master Plan with Russ Penniman (term expired but not removed)
2. Kelly Burt: supported all Board actions but rarely spoke at meetings.
3. Vivian Hardage: had missed many meetings due to health problems. Recently rejoined the Board but never expressed an opinion.
Adam Day will take over the Chairmanship. New members have not yet been announced .
The Board will not meet again until August 9, 2011 because of the ongoing Fair.
FSDRV Board meeting of May 23, 2011
April Bird Count Walk
New species observed: Olive-sided Flycatcher, Western Wood-Pewee, Warbling Vireo, Nashville Warbler, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Hermit Warbler, Fox Sparrow, Dark-eyed Juncom Western Tanager, and Lazuli Bunting. Total for the month: 112. Count total 2010-2011: 188
San Dieguito Drive Drainage Improvement.
The City of Del Mar has successfully obtained a competitive grant of $100,000 from the San Diego County Department of Environmental Health for the purpose of reducing mosquito habitat. This project will remove standing water along the south side of San
Dieguito Drive approximately 300 ft east of Jimmy Durante Boulevard.
The hillside generates groundwater which encroaches on the roadway and
Several grunion runs this spring are causing an unfortunate delay in the final dredging of the San Dieguito River Lagoon east of the North County Transit District (NCTD) railroad bridge. It will resume after Labor Day and the summer beach season. It had been expected to be completed by that date.
Final inlet dredging is now scheduled to be completed by November 2011 according to Patrick Tennant, Southern California Edison (SCE) project manager.
Nevertheless we are pleased to welcome the grunion to our shores!
REACH THE BEACH MEETING AT THE COAST Courtesy: San Dieguito River Park.
West Bernado bike path/ cantilever at Lake Hodges
The Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony Officially opening the West Bernardo Bike Path/Cantilever was held Friday April 8th. Although forecasted to rain, the weather turned out to be beautiful as 40 people attended the event, which was emceed by County Supervisor and JPA Boardmember Pam Slater-Price. Other speakers included Joe Tognoli from T. Y. Lin International Engineers, Carol Carr on behalf of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, Rand Newman, new president of the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy, Dick Bobertz, Executive Director of the San Dieguito River Park, and Dave Kreitzer, long-time River Park supporter for whom the bicycle/pedestrian bridge over Lake Hodges is named.
April Bird Count Walk
New species observed: Plumbeous/Cassin's Vireo: A Solitary-type vireo. Total for month: 107. Count total 2010-2011: 178
FSDRV Board meeting: March 28, 2011
See this web site for details of these items.
Lagoon Restoration: grand finale!!
The final stage of the San Dieguito Lagoon Restoration project is now in progress. It started east of the Jimmy Durante bridge and is moving west towards the ocean. It will take about 5 months to dredge approximately 85,000 cubic yards of sand currently clogging the river channel and to pump it to a stockpile area, for eventual distribution to least tern sites and to the Del Mar beach. This will result in a better exchange of water from the ocean to the newly restored wetlands.
The specialized dredge operating in the eastern wetlands is small, has minimum emissions and makes very little noise. Excavators and front-end loaders will be used to remove sand in the channel west of Jimmy Durante Bridge. The same process of sand removal and placement has been used in past years to open the river mouth.
It is almost done! But note that monitoring of this exciting effort will continue for many years.
Monthy Bird Count Walk
New species observed: Rufous Hummingbird. Total for month: 105. Count total 2010-2011: 177
West Bernardo Bike Path and Cantilever is Open!
The bike path that connects the south end of the David Kreitzer Lake Hodges Bicycle/Pedestrian Bridge to the Bernardo Bay Natural Area and Rancho Bernardo Community Park is now open. Enjoy!
Water over the dam: Feb 2011
There are three man-made dams and associated reservoirs along the course of the San Dieguito River built over an 85year period. The oldest is Lake Hodges, built in 1918 followed by Lake Sutherland in 1954 and Olivenhain Reservoir in 2003.
Lake Hodges is owned by the City of San Diego and operated and maintained by its Public Utilities Department. It serves customers of the Santa Fe and San Dieguito Water Districts.
While we are benefiting from abundant rains this year drought is more usual. In anticipation of dry years, Lake Hodges has recently been linked to the Olivenhain Reservoir which receives water from Northern California and the Colorado River aqueducts.
Because it has a very large (300 square-mile) watershed, Hodges spills more often than any other reservoir in San Diego County. As of February 28, 2011, only Lake Hodges and Lake Barrett were 100 % full and flowed over their spillway.
The Hodges water started to overflow on February 21 thanks to abundant rain producing a spectacular waterfall which delighted passersby. Several photographs are shown below.
Weekly updates of water levels in our County lakes is found at www.sandiego.gov/water/recreation/levels.shtml
FSDRV Board meeting : Feb 28, 2011
The Board welcomed Ed Greene back as a member.
Subjects discussed included the following:
Look out for further details on these items on this web site.
Via de la Valle road work
SDG&E has begun the undergrounding work on Via de la Valle adjacent to the eastern part of the Lagoon Restoration project and west of Horsepark. The large transmission lines will be moved to the north side of the road and the smaller ones will be undergrounded when the surface road work begins. According to SDG&E completion is anticipated by April 22 2011. Hours of operation are scheduled for 9 PM to 5 AM Sunday through Thursday to mitigate traffic concerns. Map attached.
YEAR OF WONDERS
by Ed Mirsky
Last year was a wonderful year for the wildlife at the San Dieguito Lagoon. The ebb and flow of the tides has brought in the seeds of marsh grasses as well as mud-flat worms and other organism invertebrates. The tidal basins served as hatcheries for a number of fish species. The fish are present in greater numbers than expected and that's good news for the coastal fisheries. And 173 species of birds (see FSGRV website: http://fsdrv.org/pdf/Checklist_12mon.pdf) were counted during monthly bird surveys for the year, including Brown Pelican, Clapper Rail, Least Tern, California Gnatcatcher, Bell's Vireo, and Belding's Savannah Sparrow. All of which are on State and Federal watch lists due to their low abundance. In addition, Peregrine Falcons are regularly seen in the lagoon, including juvenile falcons probably raised in the Torres Pines Reserve. Cactus Wrens were common in San Diego County, but are hard to find now. One was seen in the park, and was even carrying nest-building material—let's hope. In addition, species restricted to wetlands are present (Virginia Rail, Sora, Black-necked Stilt, American Avocet, Least Bittern, Osprey), which is very good news.
Monthy Bird Count Walk
New species observed: Snow Goose Total for month: 107. Count total 2010-2011: 175
Fairgrounds EIR Consideration
The latest information from Dustin Fuller (DAA Senior Environmental Planner)
is that April 12th is probably the earliest possible date for the Fair Board to consider the final Fairgrounds Master Plan EIR.
Don't forget the Farmstead Market every Sunday from 1:00pm - 5:00pm!
Located at the gateway to the San Pasqual Agricultural Preserve, the market is open to the public and lots of fresh organic produce from Certified Farmers and food and Craft vendors also will be available for purchase! Visit the historic home while you're here! Click here for more info.
Intermediate Birding Course
SDAS again offers its Intermediate Birding Course with Phil Pryde, Instructor. San Diego Audubon Society (SDAS) will be offering its Intermediate Birding Course, designed for those with some experience in field identification of southwestern birds, and who would like to gain additional skills to enhance the enjoyment of their birding hobby.
This intermediate birding course is open to all. Cost of the course is just $85 for Friends (i.e., members) of SDAS, $110 for non-members. The course will be taught at the Tecolote Nature Center. If you wish to enroll or have questions, call Phil Pryde, the course instructor at 619-465-9492.
San Diego Archaeology Center New Exhibit
The Legendary Life of Nate Harrison , San Diego's First African - American Homesteader will be on view until Thursday, September 15 2011 at the Archaeology Center on San Pasqual Road. Call 760-291-0370 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for information
First Bird Count of 2011
New species observed: Sharp-shinned Hawk and Glaucous-winged Gull Total for month: 118 Count total 2010-2011: 175
Date: Saturday, January 29th/No Reservations Needed
West Bernardo Bike Path to Open in January
The trail connection between the David Kreitzer Lake Hodges Bicycle Pedestrian Bridge and the Bernardo Bay/Piedras Pintadas Trails at Lake Hodges is under construction and scheduled to be completed by the end of January. The 0.3-mile segment along West Bernardo Drive extends from the Bernardo Bay staging area to the south end of the bridge, connecting the 23-mile segment of the Coast-to-Crest Trail on the north side of the lake to four miles of trails on the south side. The bridge will remain open during construction and was recently resurfaced with a more durable, non-slip material.
< December 2010
DAA east parking lot a LAKE!