Restoration is an important part of our conservation efforts, and we have completed several multi-faceted restoration projects. As part of our mission, we purchase land in or close to the San Diego River bed, or one of its tributaries, and acquire grants to restore it for flood protection, water quality, water recharge, habitat restoration for threatened and endangered species, and for trail development.
CalMat 100 Acres
In 2003 and 2004, we purchased 100 acres of river property between Channel Road and Riverford Road. This land had been sand-mined and then 600,000 cubic yards of fill had been imported to create pads for industrial buildings. We obtained grants to remove all the fill pads, remove a constriction in the river that would have caused a great deal of flooding in the river, filled in two old sand mining pits to improve sediment transport during floods, created a constructed wetland to reduce water pollution coming onto the site from Los Coches Creek. Then we constructed a mile of the San Diego River Trail.
Ha Hana Property
In 2011 we purchased 6.5 acres of property on Ha Hana Road along Los Coches Creek in Lakeside. In just 6.5 acres, Ha Hana has all the habitat that is found in this part of San Diego, it ranges from riparian woodland, to oak sycamore forest, to coastal sage scrub and it is located next to critical habitat land. It allows species from the network of conserved areas to gain access to the creek, which is important for every species in San Diego at some point in their annual life cycle. Before restoration, the creek was choked with an invasive bamboo-like plant called arundo donax.
Arundo Control Project
In 2013, we began a project with the residents who live next to Los Coches Creek. Our goal was to remove Arundo donax, a tall bamboo-like grass that overwhelmed and clogged the stream bed. We began by meeting with homeowners to explain the dangers that this plant posed to them and their property. A stand of arundo burns fiercely and can spread rapidly. It also causes flooding because the canes break off in a flood and form mats and dikes that dam up water flow around bridges and culverts.
Hanson El Monte Pond Project
In 2015 we began an ambitious project to restore the old Hanson Pond in the El Monte Valley. This 85 acre project included shallowing the old sand pit on the south side, grading and sloping down the shelf on the south side to bring it gradually to the pond, creating an inlet to allow river flood flows to expand into the pond to reduce downstream flooding. The resulting wetland habitat created supports a variety of bird species, such as the red-winged blackbird.
Hanson El Monte Pond located at the western end of the El Monte Valley