Dear ,

It's finally here...River Valley Fest is this month!
This year's event is sold out! The Conservancy is so grateful for your support as we "fill in the gaps" of the Coast to Crest Trail. With your support and donations, we have continued to grow our conservation, education, and recreation programs, including restoring hundreds of acres of habitat throughout the watershed, launching the Coast to Crest Trail Challenge, developing and growing our education programs, and more!

We're looking forward to seeing everyone...and if you weren't able to attend this year, we hope to see you on the trails soon!

Thank you for your continued support of the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy and the San Dieguito River Valley! Don't forget to renew your Conservancy membership and invite your friends, too!
Photo by Aaron Chang
News & Updates
Conservancy Introduces Next to Nature Certification Program
The Conservancy has launched the Next to Nature Certification Program to encourage the creation of sustainable yards, especially those that surround preserves, canyons, parks and other open spaces. Rather than reinvent the wheel, our Next to Nature Certification Program emulates and utilizes existing tools and information from other successful programs, including the National Wildlife Federation's  Garden for Wildlife Program.

We are partnering with  Heaviland Landscape Management  to assist homeowners, community associations and businesses in their efforts to develop areas that are friendly for wildlife and optimize water resources, including rainfall and runoff, to preserve the integrity of our surrounding natural spaces.

Creating Legacy: Founders Tribute Film Debut
Many people may not realize that the inspiration for a 55-mile long open space park started  with a small group of local citizens who stepped up and made a difference. The idea behind the  San Dieguito River Park was first conceived in the late 1970s, when the San Dieguito
Lagoon was threatened by development projects that would fill in the wetlands and destroy  one of San Diego's iconic features - its coastal wetlands.

At the same time, development was imminent near the San Dieguito River's headwaters on Volcan Mountain near Julian. These two events inspired a few local individuals to band together and fight to preserve the lagoon and the 55 miles of river upstream to its source, eventually becoming the San Dieguito River Park.

The JPA's Principal Planner Shawna Anderson said, "We will not forget those individuals who had the foresight, commitment, and original vision and inspired others to follow and make the San Dieguito River Park what it is today."

New Garden Box at Sikes Adobe
The newest Eagle Scout project to be completed at Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead is a raised  garden box. This sturdy project is both useful and easy on the eyes, and it provides an excellent
step in reaching and maintaining a sustainable interpretive farm and kitchen garden.

The Boy Scout, Nikola Raicevic, spent many hours fabricating and assembling the structure. Redwood was used for much of the box because of the sturdiness and its proximity to plants that will be eaten. Galvanized steel mesh and poultry wire we used to encase the entire structure so that gophers and squirrels would not eat our produce before we can get the chance to sell it at the North San Diego Farmers' Market.

The garden boxes are connected to a well, which is powered by a windmill. The iconic Sikes  windmill fills a tank with well water, which is then gravity-fed to the garden boxes. Please swing  by Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead on a Sunday from 10:30 to 3:30 to see our new garden box  and purchase our produce at the farmer's market.

If you are interested in volunteering in our interpretive farmstead and working in the garden, please contact the Ranger David at

Bird of the Month: Cactus Wren
The Cactus wren ( Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus ) has a white eye stripe just behind each eye extending to just before its upper back. Its throat and breast are heavily spotted dark brown  and black, and its wings and tail are barred with black, white and brown feathers. Its overall  appearance is a creamy colored brown bird with varied black and white patterns covering its  body. Its beak is slightly curved.

The coastal cactus wren is found only in Southern California. Unfortunately, wren populations  are declining and becoming more fragmented as a result of the loss and degradation of cactus  scrub habitat. San Pasqual Valley and the Lake Hodges area possess some of the most intact  cactus scrub in Southern California and supports the majority of the remaining wrens in San  Diego County. Because these birds require stands of healthy cactus for nesting, their survival  hinges on the health of their shrinking habitat. Over the last decade or so, large intense fires  have damaged coastal cactus wren habitat in San Diego County.

Read more.

River Valley Fest is SOLD OUT!

We can't wait to see you at L'Auberge Del Mar!
Congrats Coast to Crest Trail Challengers!
Harshita Swaroopa at the Raptor Ridge Viewpoint
12 people completed the Coast to Crest Trail Challenge in September!

Congratulations to:

Harshita Swaroopa
Michele Johnson
Tammy Smith
Lisa Strand
Annette Trnka
Michele Cassidy
Petra Fastner
Jeff Sisco
Debbie Burnett
Jon & Denise Baker
Sarah Devlin

Finisher Tammy Smith put together a great video slideshow showcasing all the hikes in the Challenge! Check it out here

Learn more about the Coast to Crest Trail Challenge here.
Coming Up in October
10/18 - Next to Nature - Native Plant Habitat Garden Presentation
Through its Next to Nature Program, the Conservancy encourages the creation of sustainable yards, especially those that surround preserves, canyons, parks and other open spaces.
We are partnering with Heaviland Landscape Management to assist homeowners, community associations and businesses in their efforts to develop areas that are friendly for wildlife and optimize water resources, including rainfall and runoff, to preserve the integrity of our surrounding natural spaces.
Learn more about the Next to Nature Program and how to create a sustainable yard at this workshop. It is the first class of a series that will be ongoing throughout the year.

When: Thursday, October 18th, from 6:00 - 7:00 pm
Where: Del Mar Branch Library: 1309 Camino Del Mar

12/2 - Festive Farmhouse
Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead will be hosting the annual Festive Farmhouse event on Sunday, December 2nd! The farmstead holiday celebration will consist of making homemade ornaments, decorating cookies, holiday music, and guided tours. We hope you will join us!

WhenSunday, December 2nd from 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
Where: Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead

October Events

Sundays, 10/7, 10/14, 10/21, 10/28:
North San Diego Certified Farmers Market & Farmhouse Tours
Saturday, 10/6:

Sunday, 10/7:
San Dieguito Monthly Bird Count
Saturday, 10/13:
Family Free Admission Day
Sunday, 10/14:
Volunteer Trail Maintenance

River Valley Fest
Thursday, 10/18:
Next to Nature -- Native Plant and Habitat Garden Presentation
Saturday, 10/20:
200th Anniversary Hike and Harvest Celebration

San Dieguito Lagoon Bird Walk

Gonzales Canyon Volunteer Event
Saturday, 10/27:
Furry Friends Hike

Crest Canyon Volunteer Event

Ancient Indulgences: Salt

What Happened in September
Chris Kehoe Trail Dedication  

Several representatives from the Conservancy, including current and former Board Members, were thrilled to attend the dedication of the Senator Christine Kehoe Trail
and Wetland Buffer, hosted by the 22nd District Agricultural Association, last month. The new trailhead is located on the south side of the Del Mar Fairgrounds and Jimmy Durante Boulevard.

The $5 million wetland restoration project and trail, completed in July 2017, turned a former parking lot into 9.51 acres of coastal salt marsh and 1.67 acres of upland habitat (the transitional zone along the banks of the water), which is now home to fish and birds, including osprey, herons, pelicans, terns, quails and more. The wetland project also completed a key segment of the Coast to Crest Trail.

With the planting of the wetland buffer and trail complete, it was dedicated to Senator Christine Kehoe, who served San Diego County from 2004-2012 in the State Senate, from 2000-2004 in the State Assembly and 1993-2000 on the San Diego City Council. She is known as a passionate defender of open space, trails and environmental protection.

Hikes & Jams with REI

As a part of REI's New Members Hikes & Jams program, the Conservancy led a hike around the San Dieguito Lagoon, showcasing the amazing restoration work that's been done thanks to generous grants and donations. Afterwards, all participants enjoyed a nice meal and brew at Viewpoint Brewing Co.

Photo from San Diego Hikers
Clevenger Canyon North Cleanup with San Diego Hikers

The Conservancy joined forces with San Diego Hikers last month to clean up and beautify Clevenger Canyon North last month! A group of hard-working volunteers removed 1,000 pounds of trash, made progress on graffiti removal, and repaired a fence that burned in the August fire in San Pasqual Valley.

We look forward to working with San Diego Hikers again!

Coastal Cleanup Day

California Coastal Cleanup Day is the state's largest volunteer event. When combined with the International Coastal Cleanup, organized by  Ocean Conservancy and taking place on the same day, California Coastal Cleanup Day becomes part of one of the largest volunteer events in the world. 

In San Diego County this year, there were 106 sites, 7,000 volunteers, and 130,000 pounds of debris collected.

The Conservancy, River Park JPA, 22nd District Agricultural Association, ICF, and AECOM partnered to host a site at the San Dieguito Lagoon on September 15th. There were 8 different projects and 141 volunteers that participated around the Lagoon, covering over five miles. In total, crews collected 2,000 pounds of green waste, 690 pounds of trash, and 40 pounds of recycling. They also planted 50 plants.  

Thank you to all our dedicated volunteers that made this event such a success!

World Rivers Day

The Conservancy celebrated World Rivers Day (9/22) with The Escondido Creek Conservancy! California Center for the Arts, Escondido, hosted us for a screening of the documentary Lost Rivers, followed by a stroll along a portion of the channelized Escondido Creek.

Watershed Explorers Visit Volcan Mountain with Reality Changers

Students from Reality Changers participated in the Watershed Explorers Program with a visit to Volcan Mountain near Julian. Expert Janice Smith lead a watershed demonstration and two hikes, providing a one of kind educational experience! 

Students walked away saying they, "loved learning about the natural environment and spending time together." 

Interested in taking your class or group out into the field? Visit .