April 20, 2023 | www.Camp-California.com | Job Board

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Santee Lakes

Two million gallons of water each day are recycled at the Ray Stoyer Water Reclamation Facility north of Santee Lakes Recreation Area. Recycled water flows through 7 beautiful lakes in the190-acre park as part of a unique reclamation and recycling project where 50% of the water is used as part of the community water supply for golf courses, city parks, and school landscaping with no burden to taxpayers.  

In 1934 with the construction of the El Capitan Dam the local aquifer in Santee dried up while at the same time the town of Santee transformed from a dairy farming community to the fastest growing town in the San Diego area. As a result, by 1959 Santee’s most pressing water issue was not freshwater supply, but the disposal of wastewater. Ray Stoyer, General Manager of the Santee County Water District (Padre DamMWD) created a multi-stage treatment process that could process the waste while producing usable water. Today this unique system prevents 730 million gallons of partially treated sewage from entering the Pacific Ocean. 

In addition, to an amazing system of reclamation and recycling the Santee Lakes Recreation Area provides an abundance of outdoor recreation that includes boating, fishing, camping, and hiking. One major draw to the recreation area is the nearly 230 species of birds that live or pass through to avoid the cold.

In 2010, the Santee Lakes Foundation was established to promote the importance of outdoor recreation, conservation, and environmental sustainability. Through charitable support the foundation provides support in the areas of recreational programs, habitat restoration and maintenance, environmental education programs, and park improvements and maintenance.  

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Santee Lakes

Sweetwater River

In pre-American times, the Sweetwater River was a small but year-round stream, lined on both banks by extensive riparian forests, marshes and floodplains. The Kumeyaay called this river Ah-ha-ooo-mulk, meaning “water sweet” a term given to freshwater which tastes good in regions where much of the water is bitter to the taste.

By the late 1800s, the stream was described as having "practically no living water, except at its extreme sources and for 10 or 20 miles down from the summit of the range" presumably because of the large irrigation diversions. The Sweetwater is disrupted by 3 dams, the Palo Verde, Loveland, and the Sweetwater. Below the Loveland Reservoir, the Sweetwater is free flowing until the Sweetwater Dam forms the Sweetwater Reservoir. The former serves mainly for flood control while Sweetwater functions as a reserve water storage facility for the cities downstream.

Presently the river rises as an intermittent trickle flowing out of the Cuyamaca Mountains near Stonewall Peak through the Sweetwater Marsh to the San Diego Bay. Nearly 64 percent of the rivers journey is comprised of wilderness or designated parks and open space and Native American reservations. However, approximately 30 percent is urban development and part of the San Diego metro area.

Recently the surprising discovery of a western pond turtle an IUCN Red List endangered species, in a tributary of the Sweetwater River near Jamul. A bit closer to the ocean the river runs into the Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge. Inside the refuge is the Chula Vista Nature Center and the Living Coast Discovery Center (LCDC). Partnering with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the LCDC Sustainability Team restored native habitat to a critical location along the Sweetwater River

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Sweetwater River
Featured RV Park

Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve

Over 190 acres of Parkland! Enjoy the quiet tranquility of the country, while being close enough to visit the many attractions of San Diego County—the perfect location to explore the mountains, deserts, beaches, and lakes. Santee Lakes offers full hookups, free WiFi, deluxe sites, multiple playgrounds, picnic areas, and peddle boats!

Santee Lakes
Favorite Recipe

Campfire S'mores Strawberries

by Food Network

Must-Have Gear

5 best Hydration Bladders

from Clever Hiker

5 Best Hydration Bladders