Restore San Diego

Third annual Community Renewal and Restoration Projects start this month

by Kari Gray


o you care about the environ- ment and want to help, but don't know where to start? Natural habitat for endangered species is rapidly disappearing. How would you like to make a difference in just one day?

Over the past three years, thousands of San Diegans from all walks of life have actively contributed to healthier environments by spending a day with the San Diego Earth Day's Community Renewal and Restoration Project. School kids from Torrey Pines High School have removed Arundo cane at Mission Trails Regional Park. Moms have planted trees in Sherman Heights. Truck drivers have removed debris from Fiesta Island. Biologists have pulled up ice plant from Sweetwater Wildlife Refuge. Farmers have cleared trails at Torrey Pines.

 Volunteers remove non-native species on Fiesta Island in Mission Bay.

 This year, with generous support by the San Diego Community Foundation, the third annual Community Renewal & Restoration Project will reclaim, restore and clean up four natural areas and one urban neighborhood in San Diego County:

  • Tamarisk removal at San Dieguito River Park on Saturday, November 15.
  • Non-native plant removal at Mission Trails Regional Park on Saturday, November 22.
  • Sign installation and mulching in Rose Canyon on Saturday, December 6.
  • Urban neighborhood restoration and planting in Sherman Heights on Saturday, December 13.
  • Trail restoration in Florida Canyon in Balboa Park in 1998.

Join San Diego Earth Day, 91X and our community partners for one day or at all four sites to show your commitment to restoring natural San Diego.

Call (619) 496-6666 to register or to request more information.


Acting locally


 There are many abused and neglected sites throughout San Diego county. Many natural spaces, such as parks and reserves, are now burdened with more maintenance needs and less funding and depend on volunteer help.

In 1995, almost 400 Project volunteers restored three areas. In 1996, 500 people restored three new sites and continued work on one of the 1995 sites.

Over two months in 1996, the project yielded approximately 200 bags of litter, more than a 40-yard bin filled with removed non-native sea fig, more than a mile of trail restoration and erosion control, continued Arundo cane removal maintenance of the Lake Kumeyaay area of Mission Trails Regional Park, removal of a broken, erosion-causing fence, installation of many public trail signs and over 100 native plants planted in the Florida Canyon area of Balboa Park.

Other past sites include Sweetwater Wildlife Refuge in Chula Vista, Fiesta Island's Youth Aquatic Center in Mission Bay, Torrey Pines State Preserve in Del Mar and Sherman Heights, an urban neighborhood community.


Getting it right

   An advisory panel of local scientists and conservation professionals helps determine which areas in the county are in need of restoration. Members of the Scientific Advisory Panel are responsible for advising on site selection, advice on the restorative work to take place, the types and quantity of tests and data collected and a review of the results, as deemed appropriate. The Scientific Advisory Panel includes conservation professionals from USD, City College, UCSD, Southwestern College, Kelsey-Jenney Business College and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services.


Urban sites need love, too


 On Saturday, November 23, 1996, volunteers began an urban project in Sherman Heights. More than 165 volunteers from both inside and outside the community participated, including the YMCA PRYDE program, Sherman Elementary students and staff, Sherman Heights Community Center, San Diego Youth Community Services, local churches, Sherman Heights Citizens Patrol, City College students and many volunteers from San Diego county's junior and high schools.

Together, volunteers planted twenty trees, mulched them and the surrounding school landscape, picked up and disposed of over 100 bags of trash, painted-out over ten graffiti spots and helped to continue the revitalization of the Sherman Heights community.

Now you can make a difference, too. Call (619) 496-6666 to register or request more information.