As it starts to get warmer, we're gearing up for a full summer of exciting events in the River Park. Keep an eye on our social media profiles for some fun announcements coming soon! (Hint: start practicing your hiking selfies...)

photo by Aaron Chang

Last month, we were proud to participate in so many Earth Day events with other nonprofits and organizations focused on conservation and the environment. We are all about building and sustaining the River Park, but we're just a piece of a much bigger puzzle. It's amazing to see how many other organizations and communities are out there working towards similar missions, and we're honored to be supported by our members, volunteers, donors, and partners. It's thanks to and because of YOU that we're doing everything from making progress on the Coast to Crest Trail to running the Sikes Saturday Series to hosting hikes like Trails & Ales to growing the Citizen Science program and more! 

Thank you for your continued support of the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy and the San Dieguito River Park! Don't forget to renew your Conservancy membership and invite your friends, too!


Sundays, May
7, 14, 21, 28
10:30 am - 3:30 pm
North San Diego Certified Farmers Market - Rain or Shine!
Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead:

Saturday, May 6
9:00 am
Take It Outside California! Hike at Del Dios Gorge
4.5 miles, moderate
Co-hosted by SDRVC and Rincon Consultants

Sunday, May 7
7:30 am - 12:00 pm
San Dieguito Monthly Bird Count
Hosted by San Dieguito Bird Count Leader Jayne Lesley

Sunday, May 7
9:00 am - 11:00 am
Canyoneers Hike on Highland Valley Trail
4 miles, easy
Hosted by San Diego Natural History Museum Volunteers

Monday, May 8
1:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Annual Review Workshop for San Dieguito Lagoon Restoration Project
Hosted by California Coastal Commission Staff

Saturday, May 13
8:00 am - 11:00 am
Ramona Grasslands Bird Walk
Hosted by San Diego Audubon Society

Saturday, May 13
9:00 am - 1:00 pm
Back Trails Hike
7 miles, moderate
Hosted by San Diego County Parks

Saturday, May 13
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Native Plant Sale at Julian Wildflower Show
Plant Sale benefits Volcan Mountain Foundation
Hosted by Julian Woman's Club

Sunday, May 14
8:00 am - 11:00 am
Volunteer Trail Maintenance
Meet at   Lake Hodges Boat Dock Parking Area
Hosted by SDRP Ranger David Hekel

Sunday, May 14
9:00 am - 12:30 pm
Spring Flower Hike
7 miles, moderate
Hosted by San Diego County Park Ranger Bobbi

Saturday, May 20
8:00 am - 11:00 am
Volunteer Habitat Restoration
Hosted by SDRP Ranger Jake Gibbs

Saturday, May 20
8:30 am - 2:00 pm
San Dieguito Lagoon Day
Co-hosted by SDRP, SDRVC, Del Mar San Dieguito Lagoon Committee, Wild Wonders, and UCSB

Saturday, May 20
9:00 am - 1:00 pm
Canyoneers Hike at Volcan Mountain
4-6 miles, strenuous
Hosted by San Diego Natural History Museum Volunteers

Sunday, May 21
10:00 am - 11:00 am
Yoga at the Birdwing
Co-hosted by SDRVC and Yoga Instructor Susan McCrea

Saturday, May 27
9:00 am - 1:00 pm
Back Trails in the West Preserve
8 miles, moderate-strenuous
Hosted by San Diego County Park Ranger Bill

Sunday, May 28
9:00 am - 1:00 pm
Volcan Spring Flower Hike
Meet at Volcan Mountain Wilderness Preserve:
5.5 miles, strenuous
Hosted by San Diego County Park Ranger Bobbi

All events are free unless otherwise noted.

For hikes, all mileages are approximate.

Please visit our website for more details and full events calendar.  

Join the Conservancy's  Meetup group to learn more about upcoming hikes and events in the River Park. 


Your membership helps us to fulfill our mission to protect  the San Dieguito Watershed for generations to come.


For more information, please visit these websites:

Latest News & Updates
New Watershed Explorers Experiences
The Conservancy is excited to launch Watershed Explorers Experiences, our new nature programs designed to highlight the San Dieguito River Watershed with family-friendly events and activities!

Watershed Explorers Experiences kicks off this summer with a Lake Hodges Family Adventure including kayaking and hiking, in partnership with Outdoor Outreach.

Other events include Hodges and Horses--a short hike from Lake Hodges to Freedom Song Ranch to visit some Andalusian horses and explore a nature trail. We're also partnering with Living Coast Discovery Center and Sky Hunters for a series of presentations at the Birdwing Open Air Classroom: The Science of Flight, Sky Hunters (with raptor ambassadors), Radical Reptiles, and Seashore Splash.

Registration is open for all Watershed Explorers Experiences. Information and registration links can be found here.
Support the Conservancy at KAABOO!
Big news this month! You may have seen our announcement on Facebook -- but we're thrilled to partner with KAABOO this year! They will donate 20% of the proceeds from tickets purchased through this link to the Conservancy.
KAABOO is a three-day music festival that takes place at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in September. The events and lineup have been curated to appeal to all senses, with world-class music, hilarious comedy, inspiring contemporary art, gourmet cuisine, craft libations, and personal indulgences. Just about everyone will find an act to get excited about in their 2017 lineup.  Get your passes today  and please share our link with your music-loving friends! 

San Dieguito Lagoon Report
After recovering from heavy winter rains, rangers and volunteers at the Lagoon have turned to controlling the heavy bloom of invasive species. Our focus is primarily on the mustard that has tried to re-colonize our "mitigation site." We tackled that over the period of several weeks in March and April. The mitigation site is just off of El Camino Real, north of our Dust Devil Nature Trails. The site, approximately 2 acres, was established a mitigation for the impacts from establishing the Coast to Crest Trail.  

Formerly a solid mustard field, similar to much of the infested areas south of the Lagoon, the site was cleared of mustard and replanted with native coastal sage scrub species. It has since been a constant battle to keep the area from reseeding with mustard and other non-native species. But thanks to persistent staff and dedicated volunteers, the site is 99% weed free, at least for this season.

In addition to controlling the invasive species, River Park staff has been bringing in additional soil and plant experts to advise us on methods to better establish native plant coverage on the fill slopes created by the Lagoon restoration project. The areas near the Birdwing Open Air Classroom and the Dust Devil Nature Trails are made of highly salty and compacted soils from the Lagoon excavations, making plant establishment and erosion control very challenging.

Founders Tribute
We are excited about a new art project in the San Dieguito River Park that will represent the preservation and founding of the San Dieguito River Park. Called the Founders Tribute, an artist has been commissioned to design and install a public art piece next to the Coast to Crest Trail to honor the founders -- community members who took it upon themselves to organize and urge for the preservation of the San Dieguito River Valley, forming the beginnings of a 55-mile long San Dieguito River Park. 

The purpose of the Founders Tribute project is to recognize the personal effort and commitment of those individuals and to hopefully inspire others to achieve significant things in their own communities. 

The Founders Tribute project is funded by a generous $47,000 Neighborhood Reinvestment Program grant from the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. The grant award will also fund a videography project featuring interviews and stories of the San Dieguito River Park founders and their experiences.  

Welcome New Hike Leaders!
We have a great new group of volunteer hike leaders! Get ready to join them on hikes throughout the River Park soon!

2017 Trails and Greenways Conference
This April, the San Dieguito River Park attended and presented at the 32nd Annual California Trails and Greenways Conference, held this year in Monterey, CA.  Leana Bulay, SDRP Manager of Interpretation and Outreach, presented on the development and mission of the Watershed Explorers program. 

Monterey, with its breathtaking scenery, unique habitat, and concentration of historic sites and points of interest provided the perfect location for the event. The conference is focused on advancing the cause of recreational trails: their planning, funding, maintenance, technology, protection, and everything in between. This year's conference was focused on welcoming younger attendees and nurturing the next generation of trails and greenways stewardship. 

Additionally, multiple workshops, exhibits, and classes were held at the conference. The keynote speaker, Steven Webster, Senior Marine Biologist with the Monterey Bay Aquarium, provided an entertaining and thought-provoking lecture on his help in creating the aquarium and his current work with the Citizens Climate Lobby. Next year's conference will be held in Santa Rosa, CA.

Coming Up in May
Take It Outside California! 
Hike at Del Dios Gorge
May 6th
The San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy and Rincon Consultants invite you to join us as we take an easy/moderate hike through Del Dios Gorge to the Lake Hodges Dam (approximately 4.5 miles round-trip).

On the hike we'll explore the remarkable beauty along this narrow canyon filled with riparian vegetation, coast live oaks and dramatic granite outcroppings. We'll visit the unique Rattlesnake Viewpoint where you can sit and take in views of the dam and river below. Bring your binoculars to enjoy the birding in California's first site formally recognized in 1999 as a Globally Important Bird Area.

A Wildlife Biologist from Rincon will be on the hike to talk about native plants and wildlife found along the trail and within the gorge.

For more info, call (858) 755-6956 or email

When: Saturday, May 6th at 9:00 am
Where: Directions will be provided upon registration

Annual Review Workshop for San Dieguito Lagoon Restoration Project
May 8th
A public workshop will be conducted by California Coastal Commission (CCC) staff and contract scientists to present the 2016 results of the CCC monitoring program for the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) wetland mitigation project (San Dieguito Wetlands). 

The public workshop will provide an opportunity to review the results from the 2016 monitoring. The workshop will feature presentations on the monitoring results, the overall status of the San Dieguito Wetland Restoration in meeting the performance standards imposed by the CCC, potential problems and recommendations for solving them, and plans for the 2017 monitoring. No regulatory decisions will be made on the mitigation project at the workshop.  CCC staff will use information from the workshop in carrying out its oversight and monitoring of the mitigation project.

It is the CCC's intention that the technical review workshop be attended by representatives of state and federal resource agencies, local government representatives, scientists interested in restoration and environmental monitoring, and the general public. The workshop will be conducted by CCC staff and contract scientists. Representatives from SCE and members of the CCC's Scientific Advisory Panel also will be on hand to provide further scientific viewpoints on the mitigation project.

For more information, contact Gabriel Buhr at 619-767-2370 ( or Steve Schroeter at 760-438-5953 ( 

When: Monday, May 8th from 1:30 to 3:30 pm   
Where: Del Mar Powerhouse Community Center, 1658 Coast Blvd., Del Mar

ESP Alumni Hike - Santa Ysabel Preserve East
May 13th
This hike is for graduates of the Exploring Our Sense of Place Program who have a current membership with the SDRVC. You can renew your membership online.  

Please join us for a special ESP Alumni Back Trails Hike in the Santa Ysabel East Preserve in an area not usually open to the public, led by Bill Augustus. 

Enjoy discussions about the history, plants, and wildlife of the Preserve.The hike will start at the future location of the Visitors' Center and will follow the Coleman Toll Road. This hike will be held in conjunction with the San Diego River Park Foundation and the Volcan Mountain Foundation. These groups will be hiking in from different locations and will meet at the source of the San Diego and San Dieguito Rivers.

This is a moderate to strenuous hike that includes an elevation gain of 500 feet in multiple sections. The total hike distance is approximately 10 miles. Please dress in layers as the temperature will vary throughout the hike. Wear sturdy hiking shoes and leave your pets at home. Bring plenty of water and a snack for the trail. The exact meeting place will be provided after you register.

When : Saturday, May 13th at 8:00 am
Where: Directions provided upon registration

Lagoon Day
May 20th

When: Saturday, May 20th, 8:30 am - 2:00 pm

What Happened in April
Trails & Ales Going Strong with The Escondido Creek Conservancy
The Escondido Creek Conservancy led hikers on a three-mile trek through part of their University Heights property that's normally off-limits to the public. 

After working up a thirst, they headed to Jacked Up Brewery in Escondido.

Trails & Ales continues this month as San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy leads a hike on Annie's Canyon Trail. 
Sikes Saturday Series
April was one of our busiest months at Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead.  Presentations, hikes, workshops, and classes took place every Saturday and covered a wide range of topics.  

Jess Norton, Conservation Manager with SDRVC, led a workshop on citizen science with a demonstration on wildlife tracking. 

Zovargo, a live animal show, which focuses on education and outreach, entertained our younger visitors.  

The California Wolf Center, located in Julian, CA, presented to a full-capacity audience on the behavior and habits of the Grey Wolf, dispelling myths and sharing updates on conservation and research programs.  

Alex Kunz led attendees on a photographic hike from Coast to Crest and shared his powerful images taken within the San Dieguito River Park.  

SDRP volunteer Steve Scarano led a workshop on wilderness survival skills geared towards children and families. 

Anna Benson, Karen Hawthorn, and Antonet O'Toole taught a workshop on composing Haikus on the nature found in the River Park.

And finally, complementing the historical mission of Sikes Adobe, volunteer docent Douglas Anthony led a historical hike to Mule Hill, where he discussed the events and legacy of the Mexican-American War and the Battle of Mule Hill, and Cindy Stankowski of the San Diego Archaeological Center presented on the 10,000 years of archaeological history of the San Dieguito River Valley. 

The ending of the month of April marks the closing of our very successful Sikes Saturday Series. We were able to bring many people in the community who have not visited Sikes Adobe before and in doing so, raise awareness for this very special historical site. Our experiences this spring will help SDRP with future events and presentations at Sikes Adobe and the San Dieguito River Park.
Citizen Science Surveys on Volcan Mountain
Citizen scientists joined us for two surveys on Volcan Mountain last month. Experts from Palomar Audubon helped with a bird survey and professional field botanist Keir Morse guided a botanical survey.

We recorded 100 individuals and 34 species in the bird survey -- our best birding day of the year! We're still finalizing the results from the botanical survey; they'll be posted online soon.

Creek to Bay Cleanup
As part of the I Love A Clean San Diego Annual Creek to Bay Cleanup, a group of volunteers from Kind Snacks (led by Len Filomeo and Jim Smith) and a Girl Scout troop (led by Celeste Larson) worked at our cleanup site at Crest Canyon.

22 volunteers removed 15 pounds of trash along 2.75 miles in the canyon. They also took out 150 pounds of ice plant from the restoration area! 

Photos by Len Filomeo
New Earth Day Del Mar
The Conservancy had a great time participating in the New Earth Day Del Mar event, hosted by the Del Mar Foundation, on Earth Day!

( more photos from DMF here )
SDG&E Employee Earth Fair
SDG&E celebrated Earth Month with an environmental fair aimed at inspiring employees and the community to build a cleaner San Diego. As one of their nonprofit partners, the Conservancy participated as an exhibitor.

Bernardo Summit Trail Restoration
An awesome group of volunteers came out for a trail restoration project along the Bernardo Summit Trail last month! 

This project was completed in partnership with the Conservancy, River Park, REI, and the San Diego Mountain Biking Association. The event was dedicated to the memory of Keith Quigley, who died tragically in a car accident last fall at the age of 32. Biking was one of Keith's passions and talents. He worked at REI for 10 years, mostly as a certified bike and ski technician in the action sports department.

We'd like to thank REI for a $10,000 grant that made this project a reality and bringing our communities together to ensure our outdoor experiences are safe and enjoyable!