SAN DIEGO (March 1, 2021) -- Chair Nathan Fletcher and Supervisor Joel Anderson are partnering on a policy to preserve open space, protect habitat and ensure proper clean-up of the El Monte River Valley takes place now that the county owns 98 acres it purchased last month from the Helix Water District. On Wednesday the Board of Supervisors will vote on the policy proposal that will direct $6 million toward the clean-up project.
During Chair Fletcher’s State of the County Address last month he spoke about the importance of protecting open spaces; in particular he highlighted an effort he’s undertaking to have the County partner with conservationists, foundations, tribal leaders and other elected officials to identify long-term funding and solutions to preserve San Diego River Park (SDRP). cleaning-up this property would provide an opportunity for future trail connections between existing County park facilities and the SDRP Regional Trail and Flume Trails to the east.
“This clean-up project is a central part of my vision to create seamless connections to the San Diego River,” said Chair Fletcher. “By approving this project we will preserve the land for species that inhabit this part of our county, enabling them to flourish in their natural surroundings; and provide an improved outdoor experience for our community to enjoy. Making this investment will pay dividends for our environment and the health and wellbeing of San Diegans.”
The $6 million will:
● Cleanup, repair, and improve facilities for the Property prior to its use by the public.
● Some of the restoration action items may include, but are not limited to: add accessible paths of travel, replace broken picnic tables and bleachers, repair faulty utility infrastructure, restoration of the disturbed areas behind the ballfields, and rehab the grass field to make the ballfields playable.
● There could be further options to include permanent Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) restrooms, a concession stand that meets County Health Codes that allow lessees to cook food on site, and renovated grass fields with water efficient irrigation systems.
“I’m grateful to Chair Fletcher’s leadership in working with me to bring this forward and I am hopeful that my colleagues will commit to work with me as well for the immediate restoration of this East County community treasure,” said Supervisor Anderson. “Once completed, I look forward to inviting them to hike with me and see for themselves its pristine natural beauty.”
The property was originally identified for purchase last month because it would benefit the community of Lakeside by providing opportunities for future trail connections, development of future recreational facilities, and retention of existing equestrian and youth sports field uses. The main channel of the San Diego River crosses the property and onsite habitat includes coastal sage scrub, riparian scrub, riparian forest, as well as disturbed and developed areas.