Preserving the San Diego River
“San Diego River Park Foundation.” Tree Huggers International
Whether wandering along the river banks with my family when I was three or running with my brother along the river trails last summer, the San Diego River has been a part of my childhood. These days, during my commute to school, I often consider the San Diego ecosystem, noting the changes. So many others value the natural world just like I do, and yet, action must be taken to preserve this beauty. While thinking about this world, I composed a short piano piece set to a couplet from a poem by William Wordsworth called “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.” The inspiration to write this poem arrived to Wordsworth as he walked with his sister Dorothy around Ullswater Bay and experienced the beauty of the natural world, specifically a “long belt” of daffodils. I hope that my minor composition may leave you thinking about how you value the natural world near your home.
A Brief and Turbulent History of the San Diego River
Switzer, Shannon. “The San Diego River Park Foundation.”
For more than 8,000 years, the San Diego River has served the San Diego region. Native Americans, European settlers, and the people of San Diego, alike, have shared this natural resource. In fact, the San Diego River, known as “California’s First River,” hosted the first European settlement on the west coast in 1769. However, today, due to neglect and ignorance, the River is now considered one of America’s most polluted waterways by the Environmental Protection Agency. Sources of pollution include leaky pipes, which allow sewage to seep into tributaries. In addition, lawn-care products like Miracle-Gro end up in the watershed after rains, resulting in high levels of nitrogen and phosphate, feeding algae. Likewise, the River’s seasonal conditions, worsened by climate change, produce stagnant river regions, forming low-oxygen pockets in water, which allow for the growth of harmful anaerobic bacteria. Not only are contaminants detrimental to the River, they outflow into the Pacific Ocean.
Price, Michael. “Stewards of the San Diego River.”
The San Diego River Park Foundation have dedicated resources to work towards a trash-free River and the creation of a 52-mile river-long park and trail to benefit the community and native wildlife from the headwaters in the Cuyamaca Mountains to outflow at the Pacific Ocean. The Foundation aims to connect the community through engaging volunteer programs, education, and outreach; to create a River Park and trail through land acquisitions and projects; and to conserve the natural resources through research in collaboration with San Diego State University, river clean-ups, and other resource protection and management activities.
What you can do
“The San Diego River Park Foundation.”
I challenge you to consider in what ways you value the environment surrounding your home. How can you be a steward, preserving this heritage of the natural world? If you need a place to start, try getting involved with an environmental organization in your community whether that be a beach cleanup or a community garden. Whatever you do, don’t leave it up to others; your inaction impacts your entire community. Above all, don’t forget to take a second each day to just enjoy the beauty and wonder of nature.