RiverWatch November 2017!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Featured Species:

Cottonwood Tree

Populous sp.

by Tom Davis

As Fall progresses, the air chills a little bit more each night. This causes tree sap to slowly revert back to the roots of trees, taking the life of the leaves with it. The leaves become dessicated, turn color, and drop to the ground. One of the most common, and perhaps largest trees found in riparian areas are Cottonwoods (Populus sp.).

The variety found most often in southwestern watercourses is Populus fremonteii, or Fremont Cottonwood. Cottonwoods were once far more common along southwestern watercourses than they are today. In fact, the entire southern Colorado River riverbed from around Utah to Baja California was once classified as Cottonwood/Willow habitat. This began changing in the early 1900's, when steamboats plied the river from the Gulf of Mexico to as far north as Coalville, Utah. The steamboats ran on wood fuel, and had a range of about 30 miles a day. Refueling stations cropped up along the river, and Native Americans chopped down the cottonwoods and sold them to the riverboat captains. The trees slowly disappeared, and were replaced by non-native exotics like bamboo and tamarisk. Today, vast stretches of the river are inhabited by these invasive exotics.

Luckily, there are dozens of conservation efforts along the river and other watercourses, like the San Diego River, to eliminate these exotics and re-introduce the native species. That effort continues today right here at Lakeside's River Park. Cottonwoods, Sycamores, and Willows are being planted and nurtured, while removing the exotics is an ongoing struggle.

As you walk along the River Park trail, you will see some of these trees gaining stature every year. Eventually, they will be nearly as tall as the eucalyptus trees nearby. This is all part of a grand conservation plan.

Although non-native, the eucalyptus trees are used by birds and raptors. The raptors build "aeries" (nests) high up in the trees to raise their young. As part of this long-term plan, the eucalyptus will remain until the native trees have reached a status where they can support this wildlife. At that time, the eucalyptus will be removed.

As the days get cooler, you will be able to recognize the Cottonwood trees by their leaves turning a bright yellow, in beautiful contrast with a blue sky. The next time you are out hiking the River Park trail, take note of the progression of this grand conservation plan.



Help make science matter to more students!

#GivingTuesday is November 28, 2017

#GivingTuesday is just a few weeks away! It is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

Please consider a donation on our National Day of Giving so that we can build the first ever San Diego River Science Field Station and give students a taste of environmental science in all of its muddy, weedy, frog-filled glory.

Thank you!

Donate now or on #GivingTuesday, November 28, 2017


FREE Mystery Hike

December 15th, 8:30 AM

Register by: December 12th

Feeling adventurous? Let Robin take you to a surprise location, to be announced at the end of November.

Register Here


Featured Volunteer:

Jim Renzi

Jim Renzi has been working on the San Diego River Science Field Station since 2016 and this week he enjoyed a great sense of accomplishment! We finally began digging the trenches for the underground utilities!

Jim is an engineer and is leading the effort in this important project of building the San Diego River Science Field Station.

All of his time, talent and experience are being generously donated in this first of three phases. Terry Thompson and Tom Honeycutt will lead the next phases.

Please join Jim in helping to build the first ever Science Field Station along the river by volunteering on December 5th to help us move the boxes and supplies currently held in storage containers.

Thank you Jim!

If your group, club or company would like to volunteer please contact Alisha Curtin today!


Sponsor Spotlight:

Atlas Pumping Services

Atlas Pumping is a Lakeside business that manages non-hazardous liquid and solid waste streams utilizing vacuum trucks, tankers and roll-off containers. Atlas Pumping Service was created in 1984 when brothers-in-laws, Jim and Dan, decided they could provide a better service to customers.

As years passed, the number of accounts grew and the number of employees and trucks began to follow suit. By 2011 Atlas Pumping Services had grown to over 30 employees with 22 trucks in operation. Because of the on-the-job experience and ongoing training of its personnel, Atlas assures you that their technicians and staff are some of the best in the industry. Atlas Pumping Services is also a member of the San Diego County Sewage Hauler’s Association and the California Trucking Association.

The owners of Atlas, and most of its employees live, work, and play in San Diego County. They feel proud to support Lakeside’s River Park Conservancy and believe in preserving the San Diego River now and for the future. They are especially happy to sponsor #GivingTuesday this year for the River Park and hope that many people follow in their footsteps to support building the San Diego River Science Field Station. Children of all ages and backgrounds will benefit from learning and experiencing science and our local environment here in their own backyard.


Composting Workshop held at the River Park

On Saturday, November 11th, we welcomed the Solana Center for Environmental Innovation's Jennifer Galey to the River Park for an interesting talk on both traditional and Bokashi composting.

There were 37 in attendance and all enjoyed gleaning information from the Master Composter.

Not only was it an opportunity to learn all you need to know to successfully compost, but composting kits were also available for purchase.

While composting as a whole is not a foreign idea to most, not many are familiar with the traditional Japanese method of composting known as Bokashi. What's the difference between the two? With traditional composting, you should not compost meat, dairy, and oils, while Bokashi allows you to compost all the normally off-limits items.

Not only is composting in general wonderful for our gardens but it goes a long way to help reduce waste that goes into our landfills.


Partner Spotlight:

Solana Center For Environmental Innovation

Solana Center for Environmental Innovation is a San Diego-based nonprofit organization that focuses on Zero Waste, composting, and water conservation. They mobilize the local community through innovative outreach and provide consulting services to businesses and jurisdictions in order to address the region’s most pressing environmental issues and enact impactful change.

Founded as Solana Recyclers in 1983, they are proud to have pioneered the first comprehensive curbside recycling program in San Diego – and one of the first such programs in the State of California.

Each year Solana Center reaches tens of thousands of San Diego County residents through its environmental education and community programs. Their four main areas of focus are Zero Waste & Food Recovery, Water Stewardship, Composting & Gardening and Sustainable Living.

The River Park is proud to have hosted their recent Composting and & Intro to Bokashi Fermentation event earlier this month. Together we will all make our local environment better!


Leaving a Charitable Legacy

Consider making a bequest to Lakeside’s River Park Conservancy or donate appreciated stock.

Many people want to leave a charitable bequest that exemplifies their values and leaves a lasting remembrance of their involvement in the lives of others.

Bequests, charitable trusts and appreciated stock donations are a perfect way to give and leave a lasting legacy.

A number of River Park supports have chosen this uniquely personal way to make a difference. If you would like to learn more about this, please contact Cindy Collins or Robin Rierdan.


Please update your address book...we have new emails!

Robin Rierdan, Executive Director Robin@lakesideriverpark.org

Cindy Collins, Membership & Volunteer Manager Cindy@lakesideriverpark.org

Alisha Curtin, Outreach, Volunteer & Safety Coordinator Alisha@lakesideriverpark.org

Robert Doty, Field Superintendent Robert@lakesideriverpark.org

Thea Hanner, Events & Arundo Coordinator Events@lakesideriverpark.org

Karen Anderson, Staff Accountant accounting@lakesideriverpark.org

For general information regarding the River Park and trails please direct all inquiries to:


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