Summer is upon us, but we have to say, we're grateful for the late rain we've been getting! 

We're ready for an exciting, nature-filled summer at the River Park! With our stimulating hikes, volunteer events, yoga at the Lagoon, and other events, there will be no shortage of opportunities to get outside! 

We're also excited by the progress on the River Path Del Mar extension -- we recently received new grants for the project (which you'll read about below) and construction is scheduled to start this Fall!

Also on the Lagoon, the osprey chicks are getting bigger each day and doing well. In other parts of the River Park, our education programs are reaching more and more students. We're now hoping they're inspired to bring their families to the River Park over summer vacation!

Thank you for your continued support of the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy and the San Dieguito River Park! Be sure to renew your Conservancy membership and invite your friends, too!



Sundays, June 7, 14, 21, 28
10:30 am - 3:30 pm
North San Diego Certified Farmers Market - Rain or Shine!
Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead:

Saturday, June 6
7:30 am - 11:00 am
Santa Fe Valley Hike
5 miles, easy/moderate
Hosted by Friends of San Marcos Parks & Recreation

Saturday, June 6
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
16th Annual Enviro Fair and Locally Grown Festival (part of the San Diego County Fair)
Held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds:
Visit SDRP's booth inside the fairgrounds and listen to Interpretive Ranger Leana Bulay's presentation at 1:30 pm!

Saturday, June 13
8:00 am - 12:30 pm
Canyoneers Walk and San Dieguito Lagoon
6 miles, easy
Hosted by San Diego Natural History Museum Volunteers

Saturday, June 13
9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Sky Island Trail Hike
Meet at VMF Volcan Mountain Nature Center:
1.5 miles, easy
Hosted by Volcan Mountain Foundation Education Coordinator Kathleen Beck

Sunday, June 14
8:00 am - 11:00 am
Volunteer Trail Maintenance
Hosted by San Dieguito River Park Ranger David Hekel

Thursday, June 18
8:30 am
Exec Trek - Coast to Crest Trail at the San Dieguito Lagoon
5.5 miles, easy
Hosted by San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy Executive Director Trish Boaz

Saturday, June 20
8:30 am - 10:30 am
San Dieguito Lagoon Bird Walk
Hosted by Buena Vista Audubon Society Bird Walk Leader John Haddock

Saturday, June 20
10:00 am
Crafts Under the Oaks - Hiking Sticks
Hosted by San Diego County Parks Staff

Saturday, June 20
10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Learn to be a Nature Docent
Meet at VMF Volcan Mountain Nature Center: 
Hosted by Volcan Mountain Foundation Education Coordinator Kathleen Beck

Sunday, June 21
10:00 am - 11:00 am
Yoga at the San Dieguito Lagoon
Meet at the Birdwing Open Air Classroom:
Co-hosted by SDRVC and Yoga Instructor Susan McCrea

Saturday, June 27
10:30 am
Saving Oaks in San Diego's Backcountry - What You Need to Know about the Gold-Spotted Oak Borer
Meet at the Julian Library:
Co-hosted by Volcan Mountain Foundation and Biologist Mike Puzzo


For hikes, all mileages are approximate.


Please visit our website for more details and full events calendar.  


Join our Meetup group to learn more about upcoming hikes and events in the River Park. 









Your membership helps us to fulfill our mission to protect  the San Dieguito Watershed for generations to come.




For more information, please visit these websites:









Latest News & Updates
Welcome New SDRP Executive Director, 
Kevin McKernan!
The Board of Directors has selected Kevin McKernan to serve as the new Executive Director for the San Dieguito River Park. Kevin, currently Executive Director of the San Diego River Conservancy (a State agency), will assume his new role as Executive Director with the JPA on June 29th. 

Kevin has over six years of experience with the State of California in parks, environmental, and conservation management. In addition, he has served as an Environmental Director and Planner for two Native American tribal governments. Kevin has a Bachelor's degree in Natural Resource Recreation Management.

Please join us in welcoming Kevin to Team San Dieguito!

Exploring Our Sense of Place Applications
pen for 2015-2016
We're accepting applications for the 2015-2016 Exploring Our Sense of Place program! This popular program in the River Park sells out every year -- only one spot is left for the 2015-2016 class!

Exploring Our Sense of Place is a unique series of field seminars that allows participants to experience the River Park in all seasons, to follow its path from mountain to sea, to encounter and learn about plant, animal, and human inhabitants, and to connect to the River Valley with their hearts and minds.

It consists of a welcome reception, seven excursions guided by experts throughout the year, and special "reflection time."

After the final excursion, Explorers are asked to evaluate their experience -- the average response is 4.7 out of 5! Many past Explorers say that ESP is a life-changing experience.

Learn more and submit your application here.

River Path Del Mar Update
On May 15th, the Del Mar Planning Commission recommended approval of the River Path Del Mar project and environmental review document. The City Council will consider the project on Monday, June 1st, at 7:00 pm at the Del Mar City Hall Communications Center (240 Tenth St., Del Mar). The Coastal Commission also needs to approve a coastal development permit, most likely at its August meeting. If all approvals are obtained, construction will begin after September 15th and the River Path should be completed by the end of the year.
Three Grants for River Path 
Del Mar Received in May!
The Conservancy is excited to announce it has recently received two grants for the River Path Del Mar project! REI has awarded $7,000 and the Tippett Foundation has awarded $20,000 for the project. 

In addition, on May 18th, the Friends of the San Dieguito River Valley presented a $5,000 grant to the City of the Del Mar to offset its costs associated with the River Path project.

We are very grateful for all of the donations we have received for this project to date.
The total project cost is estimated to be approximately $475,000. This cost includes project design, entitlements and easement acquisition, environmental review and mitigation, and construction. As of May 31st, there is a funding balance of approximately $188,000. If you would like to donate to this project, donations can be submitted through the Conservancy's website.
Tickets on Sale for 6th Annual
River Valley Fest!
Save the date -- the Conservancy's biggest event of the year is happening at Morgan Run Club & Resort on Sunday, October 11th! Don't miss delicious desserts from Claire's on Cedros, live entertainment from guitarist Bill Fleming, and silent and live auctions led by auctioneer extraordinaire Steve Hamann!

More info on tickets and sponsorship options is available on our website.

When: Sunday, October 11th from 2:00 pm - Sunset
Where: Morgan Run Club & Resort
Lagoon Ranger Station Under Design
by Shawna Anderson, River Park JPA Principal Planner

The San Dieguito River Park's first ranger station is closer to reality, with final approval from the Coastal Commission expected at their June Commission hearing in Newport Beach. Once the Coastal Commission's approval is granted, the JPA will proceed with construction plans and hire a contractor. Construction is anticipated to begin towards the end of 2015.

The 2,400-square foot Lagoon Ranger Station will be located adjacent to the San Andres Drive parking/staging area and overlook the San Dieguito Lagoon. It 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, it will function as much-needed work area for rangers performing maintenance and monitoring of the surrounding trail system and lagoon area.

A small conference room and wet lab will also offer a place for meetings, instruction, and scientific study of the surrounding estuary. River Park rangers will be able to comfortably interact with people who come to learn more about the San Dieguito River Park and enjoy the trails. We are certain it will be an attractive asset for the San Dieguito River Park and the surrounding community.
An Osprey Family at the Lagoon - Part 3

by Ginni Kitchen, SDRP volunteer


The Lagoon Trail osprey chicks are doing great! On Sunday afternoon, May 10th, I found Dad on the telephone wire opposite the nest, enjoying the prime cuts of the fish he had just caught. When he'd had enough, he carried the rest of the fish to the nest.


Male osprey bringing dinner, female jumping into nest, May 10th, 2015


This time he didn't give the fish to Mom, but put it down right in front of the chicks. Unfortunately, at four weeks old, the chicks didn't have a clue what to do with it, much to Dad's bemusement. He even nudged the fish closer to them in encouragement. After a minute or so Mom edged her way between the youngsters, grabbed the fish in her beak, and pulled it to the other side of the nest, where she began ripping off tidbits for her babies.


Osprey family (male with raised wings), May 10th, 2015


At six weeks old the chicks were almost as big as their parents. Both have brown feather "necklaces" on their breasts, like Mom, and are probably female. When I visited on Memorial Day, the chicks were taking turns doing wing workouts. The chick on the right was a bit more coordinated so she is probably the older of the two, but both looked strong and healthy. 


Female osprey on crosspiece and chicks in nest, May 25th, 2015


A while later Dad flew in with dinner. I expected the older chick to grab the fish and hold her wings over it protectively while she gorged herself, but to my amazement Mom was still feeding them! 


Female osprey feeding six-week-old chick, May 25th, 2015


The chicks should leave the nest at about eight weeks old, but they'll stay in the area, dependent on their parents, for another four to eight weeks. First they have to become proficient at flying and then they have to learn how to catch their own fish, so you still have a chance to visit the Lagoon Trail and see them in person.


all photos by Ginni Kitchen

Coming Up in June
Exec Trek: Coast to Crest Trail at the San Dieguito Lagoon
June 18th
Join Conservancy Executive Director Trish Boaz for an easy 5.5-mile hike along the San Dieguito Lagoon for the next Exec Trek!

The Coast to Crest Trail at the Lagoon provides visitors with unique vantage points and the closest access to the very sensitive marsh areas of the San Dieguito Lagoon. Intertidal marshes like these are some of the most rare and threatened habitats in California. 

When: Thursday, June 18th at 8:30 am
Where: San Andres Dr. Interpretive Kiosk (directions)

Yoga at the Birdwing 
Open Air Classroom 
at the San Dieguito Lagoon
June 21st
Join yoga instructor Susan McCrea for a relaxing, coastal yoga session at the Birdwing -- every third Sunday of the month! Bring your mat, all levels welcome.

When: Sunday, June 21st at 10:00 am
Where: Birdwing Open Air Classroom (directions)

What Happened in May
Almost-Full Moon Hike
Twenty avid moonwalkers and furry companions enjoyed a beautiful moonlit hike at Bernardo Bay on May 1st. We came upon two California king snakes on the trail and a blind snake that lives underground and is rarely seen. Thank you to hike leader Al Bates for leading us on a wonderful tour!

photo by Jess Norton

King snake


More photos from the hike can be found on the Conservancy's Facebook page.

San Dieguito Wetlands Restoration
Project Annual Report
On May 11th, a public workshop was conducted by California Coastal Commission (CCC) staff and contract scientists to present the 2014 results of the CCC monitoring program for the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) wetland mitigation project. 

The performance of the San Dieguito Wetlands Restoration is evaluated against both absolute standards, which are evaluated only at San Dieguito, and relative standards, which require San Dieguito to perform at least as well as the poorest performing of three natural reference wetlands.

The San Dieguito Wetlands Restoration met 4 of the 5 absolute standards in 2014, but failed to meet the habitat area standard, which requires areas of subtidal, mudflat, and salt marsh habitat to be within 10% of the habitat areas specified in the final design. Failure to meet this standard was due primarily to insufficient acreage of salt marsh habitat, which in 2014 was about half of the area specified in the final design.

The restoration met all the relative standards, performing better than the Tijuana Estuary reference site, despite findings that the coverage of salt marsh vegetation and the abundance and species richness of macro-invertebrates was lower than at the reference wetlands. Moreover, recent observations of recruitment of salt marsh vegetation in areas of the Restoration re-graded in March 2014 and of cordgrass (habitat for endangered Clapper rails) throughout the restoration provide hopeful signs that the area of suitable salt marsh habitat and the coverage of salt marsh vegetation is on the increase.

Overall, these results are encouraging, as 2014 is only the third year following completion of the final construction of the Restoration. We will continue to closely watch macro-invertebrate density, species richness, and the cover of salt marsh vegetation to determine whether their low values are due to mechanisms other than normal time lags in wetland development.


Mira Costa College at San Elijo LIFE Seminar: The Future of Wetlands in Southern California
Conservancy Executive Director Trish Boaz and San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy Executive Director Doug Gibson provided a presentation to a capacity crowd at Mira Costa College as part of its Learning Is For Everyone (LIFE) program on May 15th. 

The presentation covered the impacts to coastal wetlands created by climate change, drought, and other threats, along with potential strategies to address them. A huge thank you to Sally Foster, retired Dean of the San Elijo campus of Mira Costa College for organizing this wonderful program!
Deer Canyon Elementary 
Field Trip to Sikes Adobe
by Bryan Ward, San Dieguito River Park Ranger, and Anne Cooper, Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead Museum Manager

For the third consecutive year, about 100 fourth graders from Deer Canyon Elementary in Rancho Penasquitos visited the Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead on May 12th and 14th to learn about pioneer life in the late 1800s. Museum staff set up six stations with different activities for students to rotate through, including: doing laundry, directed archaeology, gardening, a Ranger-led walk on part of the nearby Coast to Crest Trail, making clay marbles and playing games, and "You Be the Tour Guide" tours of the farmhouse. 

Both students and parents learned a lot -- one parent chaperone shared that she was told not to miss this field trip! 11 chaperones were eager to participate on the second day. Thank you to the volunteer docents and rangers for making the field trips possible! 

photo by Anne Cooper