The Rancho Santa Fe Post

Local Organizations in the Spotlight: The San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy

The San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy is a nonprofit organization, founded in 1986, dedicated to maintaining the natural resources of the San Dieguito Watershed and the San Dieguito River corridor. Part of the Conservancy’s vision is to complete the 92,000-acre River Park and the 70-mile Coast to Crest Trail (from Del Mar to Volcan Mountain north of Julian).

Supported by the Rancho Santa Fe Foundation and the San Diego Foundation, among others, the Conservancy is able to fulfill its mission to conserve and protect the San Dieguito River Valley, educate the community, and encourage recreation by working closing with the San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority.

Over the past year, the Conservancy launched the Watershed Explorers Program, a project that provides an opportunity for underserved students to get outdoors.

The Conservancy recently received $25,000 in grant funding from the San Diego Foundation to expand the Watershed Explorers Program in the upcoming year by hiring a volunteer and docent coordinator.

“We are looking to build up a volunteer base to increase the capacities for all programs in the River Park so that we are building our future stewards,” Trish Boaz, Executive Director of the Conservancy explains.

Since January 2016, 181 students have participated in the Watershed Explorers Program.

Students are able to visit Volcan Mountain, Lake Sutherland, the San Dieguito Lagoon, the San Diego Archaeological Center, and the Sikes Adobe historic Farmstead/Lake Hodges. At each of these locations, students learn about the different locations' needs, wildlife, and habitat types.

The Conservancy is hoping to expand the Watershed Explorers Program by forming partnerships with other schools and organizations outside of the San Dieguito watershed. The Conservancy will begin accepting students in January of 2017 when the Watershed Explorers Program enters its second season.

For teachers, students, or any other youth-serving organization interested in participating in Watershed Explorers, keep an eye out for the new website launching soon.

For the upcoming year, the Conservancy will continue to work with the Friends of the San Dieguito River Valley and the San Dieguito River Park to strategically and sustainably combat invasive species and restore habitats throughout the watershed with grant funding, volunteer events, and public education.

With funding raised by the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy, the San Dieguito River Park (SDRV) is able to protect the River Valley’s unique resources while providing educational opportunities.

The SDRV provides monthly volunteer opportunities for students, parents, retirees, or any community member who wants to learn about the River Valley and maintain its precious resources. Please visit the San Dieguito River Park’s volunteer calendar or contact the rangers directly.