We all know that water plays a big part of our lives. It helps sustain habitats as well as erode them away. It can make our roads dangerous and our views and vistas more colorful with blooming vegetation. Looking back at the year 2005 here in San Diego we saw more than double our normal rainfall, according to the San Diego County Water Authority. But nowhere was water more damaging that year than when the Levees at Pontchartrain broke from the rainfalls from Hurricane Katrina.
We know that we have to stay ahead of possible damages from water. Here at the San Dieguito River Park, we know that it is just as important to maintain and restore our wetlands and waterways. Both because we want to conserve the native habitats that depend on them and because we want to prevent uncontrolled erosion and uncontrolled flooding.
Also in 2005 the California Coastal Commission gave the final approval for the San Dieguito Lagoon Wetlands Restoration Project which is a project that is in the monitoring phase to this day. The construction phase of the project was completed in 2011.
Later in December of 2005, James Steinberg reported in the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper that escrow finally closed on the River Park’s purchase of the 353 acre Habib parcel east of Lake Sutherland and north of the 78 highway. Which brought the park one step closer to protecting more land near water banks and another step closer to having a continuous trail from Del Mar to Julian. The trail is otherwise known as the Coast to Crest (CTC) Trail and in 2005 it was officially recognized by the California Trails Association.
In continuance with the River Park’s efforts to protect and conserve more water related lands it also purchased another two parcels totaling 150 acres in June of the same year. The two properties, the Bordeaux property and the Crowder property, one of which is in the San Dieguito River flood plain.
On another note in 2005 was the first year of planning the connection between SDRP CTC Trail to a separate regional trail system in coalition with the City of Poway. That link will provide a connection to the Trans County Trail System (TCTS) through the City of Poway. This trail corridor would be one of the north to south trail link segments built, that would connect to the TCTS in between California Coastal Trail and Pacific Crest Trail, which also connects 2 out of the 5 west to east trail corridors in our county. As Dick Bobertz, Executive Director of the River Park from 1998 to 2014, said, “The new linkage, highlighted on the map within a yellow circle, almost doubles the length of continuous regional trail system available to trail users by joining the 23 continuous existing miles of the San Dieguito River Park system to the 14 miles of the Trans-County system through 8 miles of the Poway Trail system.” Those trails providing regional trail access to most of the city’s 50,000 residents.
Dick further said that “when all of the regional east/west trail systems are completed and linked with north/south connections, County residents and visitors will enjoy a connected county-wide regional trail system of over 300 miles that will constitute an alternative transportation system.”
While 2005 reminded us of the devastating effects that water can have, we know that careful and consistent maintenance and preservation of the habitats around our watershed and wetlands is important in prevention of ecosystem degradation and in promoting the growth of our breathtaking native flora and fauna. We can now enjoy even more extended trail systems to explore these protected native open space preserves.
Park Ranger, San Dieguito River Park JPA