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RiverWatch February 2024: We Have Sand Bags!

Despite the well-used appearance of this sand pile, the river park has plenty of sand and sand bags to protect against upcoming rains. Gates are open 7:30am - 3:30pm, and assistance is available for those who might have trouble filling or loading bags, at 12108 Industry Road.

River Park donors - YOUR donations have ensured sufficient supplies! This is a perfect use of your "Where Most Needed" gifts. We have given out over 2,000 sand bags this week!

Nature Walk Kick Off

Inaugural walkers (from left to right): Eric Webb, Julie Turko (Walk Leader), Katie Andersen,

Emery Elles, as well as John Allen and Gary Mitrovich (not pictured).

Our first Nature Walk of the new year took place Saturday, January 27 - what a beautiful morning it was! Did you know that the river park now offers weekly nature walks? Every Saturday morning from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. we are available to take up to 10 people on a “meander” and explore not just the trail but also the wild areas not usually open to the public. We want to share what makes the river park so special, touching on the natural history of the San Diego River as well as the species and activities found on site. All ages and group outings are welcome!

Reserve your spot for any available Saturday in 2024!

Day-of details will be emailed to registered guests.

We hope to see you out on the trail!

Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast

Volunteers are very important to an organization like ours. We are so very fortunate to have some wonderful people donating their time and energy to the River Park. On Saturday, January 13, 2024, we honored some of these folks with a breakfast at Lakeside’s Boll Weevil restaurant. While all of those who give to us are valued, we did highlight several very special people for their efforts last year.

Volunteers of the Year


We see Steve and Larry almost every Thursday on a golf cart, gearing up to do battle with all of the invasive species in the River Park. Rarely do they ask what is needed - they usually already know and come with a plan of attack. If we have minor equipment repairs or special tasks, we can rely on Steve and Larry to get the job done. These two have been the cornerstone of volunteering for so many years, keeping the trails clear and the weeds abated, helping keep our property safe and secure and even making sure the recycling gets dropped off!

Scoop McMillen Award


Charlotte is a retired school teacher and has been a dedicated volunteer at the River Park for over 15 years. She has worked outreach booths, helped develop programs, led tours, participated in mailing parties, raised money - not to mention her Project Wildlife duck release endeavors. Charlotte has been a long-time volunteer and supporter of the River Park. The Scoop McMillen Award is given to a volunteer who has shown amazing dedication and commitment to the River Park. That describes Charlotte!

Burnett Foundation Inspirational Award


Scarlett and Eric are an epic pair! They have been inspiring people for so many years that we thought it was high time to give them their due recognition, again. Back in 2016, Scarlett and Eric were recognized by CalTrans for their continued outstanding service and were named Volunteers of the Year. This past year has been no different. Scarlett sends us a letter almost weekly letting us know which part of the river bed they’ve been cleaning, what they’ve been throwing away, and who they’ve been meeting on the trail. We cannot thank you both enough for all your hard work and dedication!

We want to thank and recognize the following local businesses who donated various gifts and prizes for our raffle La Palapa, Café 67, Payton’s True Value, Reflections Salon, and Unique Gifts. Special thanks to the Burnett family and to the Lakeside Boll Weevil! We truly appreciate your support!

Robert's Corner

by Robert Doty, Field Superintendent

Field operations are going great with a ton of things happening here in the park. I intend to bring you a quick note each month with either helpful hints, new ideas, or weeds you might not be familiar with. This month I’m focusing on WEEDS.

While most everyone is still worried about winter cold and rain, I am getting ready for spring to come. The park is faced with several opportunistic weeds, like Mustard, Tree Tobacco, and Castor Bean. Here are a couple of photos of seedlings that might be “springing” up now that you will want to be aware of:

If you can possibly eliminate these weeds when they are small, you will find it is easier to remove them by hand or spray with herbicide. This helps with seed reduction by not allowing them to reach maturity and thus reducing the amount of your work for the next year. The gaps between storms and fair weather in between make for a continuous growth cycle. Keeping these plants at bay is a full time job sometimes, but it gives native plants better opportunities to prosper. Together, we can make a dent in the invasive plant population.

Questions? Robert can be reached at: or 619-381-0977.


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