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RiverWatch January 2023! Happy New Year!

Who Goes There

Reflecting on the new year, we are so grateful to be able to serve Lakeside and East San Diego County. It's been a rough few years for many people, in different ways, and as we renew our community connections in 2023 we are looking forward to the new opportunities this year will bring.

One initiative we have mentioned is the "Who Goes There?" campaign, where we will be experimenting and implementing new ways to discover and document wildlife at home in the river park.

We will be asking for volunteers, corporate sponsors and community donations to help us hide cameras, identify species, set up a repository to record sightings by trail users and citizen scientists, and prepare images and data to share.

Please let us know if you would like to help out! Later this month, we plan to organize a group tour/info meeting for those who are interested.

We would love for you to join us! Send us an email at


Hanson El Monte Pond (HEMP) Visit

Picture taken in December 2022
Hanson El Monte Pond

The Hanson El Monte Pond (HEMP) project was a major flood control, restoration, and groundwater recharge project completed by LRPC in 2016. These December pics show the site today and its thriving habitat.

We recently returned to the Hanson El Monte Pond (HEMP) project on a gorgeous day in December, for a site visit with our funding partner, the Wildlife Conservation Board. Of particular interest were the health and density of native plantings around the pond, established through the tender loving care of the LRPC Field Crew, and the culvert designed to divert valley flood flows into the pond to prevent downstream flooding.


El Monte Valley Fire Prevention

In addition to flood prevention, our crew is regularly seen in El Monte Valley practicing fire prevention through vegetation management. Thanks to our partnership with the San Diego River Conservancy, the team works on both private and public property with the permission of property owners, to clear brush, trim trees, and remove dead wood that poses a fire hazard. Are you a property owner in El Monte Valley with questions about the program? You can email Field Superintendent, Robert Doty, at Mountaintop residents recently had their roadside selectively cleared to increase road safety in the event of fire. The welfare of residents is the primary goal of the program, while also respecting natural habitat, wildlife, and the protection of property.

Tree branches are "lifted" six feet off the ground with debris cleared out below, to reduce potential fuel loads and prevent the trees from igniting in case of wildfire.

Dead wood to be removed from the roadside, to safeguard this mountain road.


All Who Give Are Members!

In 2023, we are going to try something new as we are keeping in touch with you, our friends of the river park. Many of you have been members of the river park for years, and many have been regular donors outside of membership. We would like to bring our supporters together into one big river park family, so we consider anyone who gives to be a member here. Instead of membership levels per se, we will regularly communicate what different levels of giving are helping us to accomplish. For example, a $100 gift can help us install one low-cost wildlife camera on the river park’s 100 acres.

Thank you so much for your continued support!

We wish you the happiest of New Years.


Contact Us

Robin Rierdan, Executive Director

Julie Turko, Assistant Director

Robert Doty, Field Superintendent

Karen Beshirs, Office Manager

General information:


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