Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Art illustrative of a disaster much nearer home!


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Non TransparentSea

The TransparentSea Voyage was such a great concept: an awareness campaign aimed at highlighting coastal environmental issues, with particular attention given to cetaceans (whales and dolphins) and the waters they inhabit.” (http://transparentseavoyage.com/) It has also been a tremendous disappointment. Its organizers and participants squandered a wonderful opportunity to shed light on major problems facing cetaceans and humans along the Southern California coast. Instead of doing so, the voyage went from groomed beach to groomed beach (El Capitan State Park to Mission Beach in San Diego) and party to party at exclusive, elite, and affluent venues (Malibu Inn, Mission Bay Yacht Club), and promoted clean ups at relatively clean beaches. The TransparentSea Voyage appears to have been a project to raise funds, not awareness. Awareness would have meant exposing what is, perhaps, North America’s worst ongoing ecological disaster. Instead of picking up a few cigarette butts and Starbuck’s cups at the Malibu pier and at Mission Beach, the crew could have helped collect TONS of debris and plastic just before winter rains wash them into our beautiful ocean. (http://www.wildcoast.net/media-center/news/398) Instead of “peddling” through the relatively pristine waters off the Palos Verde Peninsula, they could have sailed in front of a California river mouth were, during the rainy season, hundreds of millions of gallons of water contaminated with human waste and industrial pollutants flow onto our ocean EVERY DAY, sometimes for months on end, washing those tons of plastics and debris out to sea. (http://www.sccoos.org/data/tracking/IB/ - check it out after a rain event) Instead of observing dolphins and blue whales living in clear and fairly healthy water near San Pedro, they could have seen a large pod of resident dolphins surfing and eating in the perfect, empty waves of a classic surf spot – empty because of the often putrid and chocolate brown water. They could have seen whales swim through this same fetid plume, which extends miles out to sea when the river flows. This unbelievably gross water has driven the local surfers from the lineup of a classic reef break, a reef that is also a proposed MPA! (http://www.signonsandiego.com/sports/20070102-9999-lz1s2surf.html) (http://www.wildcoast.net/media-center/news/270-tijuana-river-mouth-marine-protected-area-status-goes-into-effect-oct-1) Unfortunately, dolphins and grey whales can’t avoid the pollution like surfers do. This area is, basically, the Taiji Cove of the Californias. Dolphins certainly don’t suffer the quick, bloody death here that they do in Japan. They merely pass their winter months in an ocean filled with plastic waste, sewage, chemicals, and disease. Grey whales navigate these same poisoned waters twice a year on their annual migration. Who knows what effect it may have on them? The TransparentSea Voyage was informed about the problems this area poses to the ocean, humans, and cetaceans. It was asked to go there for a look, a couple of hours tops, on a tour that would have made their jaws drop. They didn’t come, apparently being too busy at glitzy venues, raising funds, and hobnobbing with the “elite”. This “cove” is the Tijuana River Valley, the Tijuana River, and the reef break known as the Tijuana Sloughs. It needs the kind of international exposure a project like TransparentSea can bring. Once again, an opportunity presented itself. Once again, the surfing community seems to have spent its time partying in beautiful and affluent places filled with beautiful and affluent people capable of giving large beautiful donations, instead of focusing on real problems. The TransparentSea Voyage was such a great concept. It was such a great disappointment.

Hi Jeff

We at S4C appreciate your passion and opinion for what Transparentsea did not accomplish. We have a long list of how to make this campaign better in the future and your input has been noted. Please continue to spread the word about the issues that the Tijuana Sloughs face as these are legitimate and something that needs to be addressed on both sides of the border.

Also please remember that our group are passionate volunteers who do campaigns like this because we feel its extremely important to do what we can for the oceans and the creatures that live in them, and not because of any "elite" or "exclusive" opportunities that appear to have presented themselves.

One of the goals of our non-profit is to inspire others as we have been inspired by other like minded activists over the years. You are clearly moved by the Transparentsea concept and very passionate about your local area and we applaud that effort...

We hope that in the future you will use those passions for the positive and not as a loud speaker to cut down our initiatives because it didn't meet your goals. We would love to help in any way we can going forward, but ask that you not use this platform to trash our efforts as the Sloughs and your local beaches have been trashed over the years.


justin krumb | S4C USA | www.s4cglobal.org |

Hi Justin,

Thanks for such a prompt reply. I would like to point out a few things that might help you wrap your mind around my passion. The issues regarding the Tijuana River are international in scope. Two-thirds of its watershed lay within Mexico. The assembly plant industry (“maquiladoras”) in Tijuana, which contributes so much of the industrial pollution, is made up of companies from, among other countries, Japan and Korea. The foot print of contamination extends far beyond the confines of Imperial Beach and the Tijuana Sloughs reef, extending for many miles to the north, south and out to sea. Industries directly impacted by the plume include not only tourism and sport (surfing, diving, fishing), but also commercial fisheries on both sides of the border. The United States military commandos (SEALS) abandoned the area for training because of health issues. The United States Border Patrol receives “hazardous duty” pay when assigned to the area. As I stated in my initial letter, cetaceans are also quite heavily impacted, since they feed in and travel though the plume. This has been an international issue for many years, since before I was born’ I’m 62. It has been ignored all this time, perhaps because it is occurring in a “lost” corner of California or is viewed by many as too hard to deal with and impossible to solve. Personally, I’ve been involved in efforts to preserve the estuary, clean it of debris and silt, educate the public, and solve the sewage and contamination problems for over 40 years. Our activism here, is neither self-serving nor self-promoting. We have labored in obscurity all these years and now seek help in bringing this problem into the light of day. Our activism is altruistic and grassroots. We seek to solve this real and immense problem, not pay lip service to it through glitz and glamour. Our hands are dirty and our backs are sore. You were contacted through San Diego Surfrider with anticipation and informed of the severity of the problem and the importance of shedding some light on it. Surfrider San Diego was informed that TransparentSea and Mr. Rastovich were “100% on board” for a tour of the Tijuana River Valley and willing to learn about its impact on the ocean environment. Neither TransparentSea nor Mr. Rastovich followed through and fulfilled their stated obligation to come. Our offer of a tour still holds. We would be very happy to have you and your TransparentSea crew witness the “Taiji Cove” of the Californias. Don’t forget to bring a camera. Please let us know when you will be here. You can contact us through San Diego Surfrider.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Cleanup This Saturday October 8th from 9-12pm- Tijuana River Action Month

Tijuana River Action Network: Cleanup This Saturday October 8th from 9-12pm- : Join us this Saturday October 8, 2011 from 9-12pm for a cleanup of the Tijuana River as part of Tijuana River Action Month. Where: EAST of Dairy Mart Road Bridge When: Saturday October 8th from 9am-12pm. Why: Because we need to prevent trash from flowing out to our ocean! What: Bring your own supplies! Please wear long pants and closed toe shoes (no sandals please) We will provide supplies but bringing your own is highly encouraged. Water, snacks and goodies will be available.If there is light rain the day of the event the cleanup will go forward.

DIRECTIONS:From NorthTake 5 south exit on Dairy Mart Rd exit 3. Make a RIGHT at the stoplight. Pass a three way stop. Keep straight, pass the “Parks and Recreation-Tijuana River Valley Regional Park” sign”Road will slightly curve to the right-slow down. Make a LEFT onto a dirt road. Go down a small berm. Make a RIGHT (heading South)onto a semi paved road. Keep straight until you see a yellow “END” sign. Make a LEFT and follow the dirt road. Follow the orange flags until you come to a clearingPark on your right side by the canopies. We hope to see you there!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

NoBS Campaign Events this Weekend and Tijuana River Action Month!‏

Hello everyone, here are updates and quite a few exciting events happening this weekend and during the upcoming Tijuana River Action Month (flier attached). It's a long one, so take a deep breath, sighhhh...and go!:

Coastal Cleanup Day - Saturday, September 17th 9-12pm. Surfrider NoBS will be hosting with the Tijuana Estuary at the Tijuana Slough location. This spot is currently full but we need more volunteers at Border Field State Park and Dairy Mart Road Bridge locations. Register today!! http://www.cleanupday.org/.Last year, more than 10,000 volunteers participated in San Diego County alone, but we know we can do better! Help us to remove harmful litter and debris from our beaches, bays, urban areas, and open spaces, while also tracking trash to learn more about the sources of this pollution and how we can stop it at its source. Visit http://www.cleanupday.org/ to learn more about the event, and to view a complete list of cleanup sites. Registration is now open, so gather your volunteer group and find the best site for you!

Surfrider 20th Anniversary Paddle for Clean Water - Sunday, September 18th 9-12pm at Ocean Beach Pier. The Paddle For Clean Water is a non-competitive event that consists of over 1000 local surfers and ocean enthusiasts paddling around the Ocean Beach Pier to bring awareness to the pollution problem along San Diego’s coastline. This is a free event, and everyone is invited to participate with any human-powered paddle craft. As part of the festivities, there will be free breakfast for all paddlers, guest speakers, a raffle and a beach cleanup. For more information http://paddle4cleanwater.blogspot.com/

Digging in: A Workshop on Community Based Restoration (Tijuana Estuary) - Wednesday, September 21st, 9am - 3pm at the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve Training Center. The workshop is based on the California Coastal Commission’s how-to manual, Digging In: A Guide to Community-Based Habitat Restoration. For more information and to register for a lunch ticket http://diggingin.eventbrite.com/.

Surfrider September Chapter Meeting - Wednesday, September 21st 7-9pm at Forum Hall above the Well Fargo Branch in UTC. This month's guest speaker is Oscar Romo who will be talking about the progress in Mexico and the Tijuana River Valley in addressing sediment, trash and sewage that degrades the region. Oscar is the Watershed Coordinator at the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve. In this capacity, he is the principal investigator of the San Diego coastal storms project, the trash tracking project and the waste tires tracking project. He works in the development of bi-national pilot projects to control sediment, trash and waste water flows at the source, as well as the development and implementation of public policies to conserve ecosystems on both sides of the US/Mexico border. Oscar also serves as the US co-chair of the Border 2012 water task force, as a delegate to the UN Commission on Sustainable Development and as a county delegate to the World Water Forum.

"National Public Lands Day" Border Field State Park 40th Anniversary Volunteer Planting Event - Saturday, September 24th 9-12pm at Border Field State Park, 1500 Monument Road, San Diego, CA. Celebrate National Public Lands Day and National Estuaries Day at a volunteer planting event on Saturday, September 24 at Border Field State Park. On-site registration at 9am. Be sure to wear long pants and closed toe shoes. Volunteers under 18 must have signed parent consent forms (available by request from volunteer@trnerr.org) tel:619-575-3613Surfrider hosted Tijuana River Valley Cleanup off Dairy Mart Road - Saturday, October 8th 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. As part of Tijuana River Action Month, Surfrider will be hosting a cleanup site at Dairy Mart Road Bridge Location. Contact Dan at dan@surfridersd.org to help with volunteer registration and sign in. For directions and more information on any of the Tijuana River Action Month events please see http://tijuanariveractionnetwork.blogspot.com/

South Water Quality Workshop: When is it safe to surf? Swim? - Wednesday, October 12th 6pm to 8pm at the Tijuana Estuary Training center. Presentations from local volunteer groups, Scripps, City of IB Lifeguards, City of San Diego about the quality of our water from inland rivers and streams that eventually lead to our Oceans here in South Bay San Diego.

Become a fan of NoBS at: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=119244691440340#!/pages/NoBS-No-Border-Sewage-Campaign-Border-Sewage-Affects-Us-All/317796537442?ref=search&sid=aWd8NJo_Yhyq2wzUrV0nfw.670169746..1

As always check out the blog http://www.bordersewagecoalition.blogspot.com/ for the latest news, and here is the link to photos from recent Stewardship events and monthly water testing. http://www.flickr.com/photos/surfridersandiego/sets/72157627087376124/

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

WANTED: Volunteers for a Major Cleanup of the Tijuana River Valley

On Saturday, August 13th the Surfrider Foundation San Diego Chapter will be hosting a cleanup of the Tijuana River Valley from 9am-12pm. Our volunteers will be working with the Tijuana River Valley Equestrian Association, Oceanforce, WiLDCOAST, Suzie’s Farm, Wild Willows Farm and others for a major cleanup of one of the horse trails that link the cathedral trail and the Saturn link. The Tijuana River Valley offers miles and miles of interconnecting hiking and horseback riding trails that run all the way to the beach. In fact, Border Field State Park beach just west of the Tijuana River Valley is one of the last places in Southern California where you can horseback ride on the beach! This trail has been highly impacted by the large amounts of trash, plastic, sediment and tires that wash through the River Valley during the winter flooding season.
Directions to the cleanup: Central Trail Staging Area – 2310 Hollister Street, San Diego, CA. From I 5 – South, take exit 4 – Coronado Avenue (not the Coronado Bridge) and continue straight (heading south) onto Hollister Street. As you reach the southern end of the first bridge, make an immediate right into the Tijuana River Valley Regional Park and look for cleanup signs.
If you would like to help volunteer for this cleanup or future NoBS projects please contact Dan at dan@surfridersd.org.

Monday, June 20, 2011

City of Imperial Beach Councilmembers, Stakeholder Group Meet with CESPT Director, Tour Tijuana's Wastewater Treatment Plants

On June 14th, 2011 the Director of the State Public Services Commission of Tijuana (CESPT) hosted a tour for San Diego clean water stakeholders to discuss water quality issues in the border region. City of Imperial Beach councilmembers Jim King and Brian Bilbray were joined by Dan Murphy from Surfrider San Diego, Danielle Litke from the Tijuana River Research Reserve, Chris Helmer Environmental Manager for the City of Imperial Beach, IB Patch editor Khari Johnson and WiLDCOAST staff were welcomed at the CESPT headquarters. CESPT Director Ing. Hernando Duran and sub-director of sanitation Ing. Juan Manuel Tamayo briefed the group on the wastewater treatment efforts accomplished by CESPT in the last 20 years. Among these achievements are the recently built Mexican treatment plants Arturo Herrera and La Morita which treat ten and six million gallons per day respectively. Additionally in order to properly dispose the treated wastewater, a new 2300 meter impulsion line was built to divert the treated effluent to Punta Bandera (south of Playas de Tijuana) The total investment in these three plants was 22 million dollars which enable the City of Tijuana to treat wastewater up to tertiary level by means of activated sludge reactors and disinfection by ultraviolet light, allowing the agency to produce water of sufficient quality for reuse in the creation of green areas such as parks and ecological recreation centers in the city.

The group then visited the Arturo Herrera Wastewater Treatment Plant where, the sub-director of sanitation services explained how they have developed a very unique educational program through local schools and fun activities at the treatment plant. The agency has created an interactive space for children to learn the wastewater treatment process. CESPT firmly believes that these educational efforts will lead to increased water conservation.

Additionally, the sub-director informed the group that these tretament plants took a lot of effort to build.

Because they are a state-run yet not state-funded agency, the funding to build these plants came from a Japanese Bank line of credit that had to be approved by the state congress. "we have to pay all of this money back " said the sub-director, "it is definitely a challenge".

The tour ended at the CILA pump station, a system that was put in place to redirect effluent from the Tijuana River during dry weather season and pump it over the city’s canyons to be treated and then discharged at Punta Bandera. Thanks to this operating system beach water quality is ensured in south San Diego Beaches during dry weather season.

"This was a very educational experience for me" said Jim King City of IB councilmember- "it's pretty amazing to see the great efforts Mexico is making to address water quality issues here at the border".

To see pictures from the tour visit: http://www.wildcoast.net/media-center/news/251

Friday, June 10, 2011

NoBS Updates for June and July

NoBS updates for June (version Español sigue despues del correo en ingles):
Citizen Water Quality Monitoring - Our next Monitoring event is tomorrow Saturday, June 11th, at 9a.m., collecting Water Samples at 3 sites in the Tijuana River Valley. We need volunteers to collect water quality samples and take basic water chemistry measurements on a regular basis for the Tijuana River Valley and Estuary sites. We are looking to train volunteers to collect samples every month, or serve as a back-up for other volunteers at the estuary or throughout the county. If you have attended the training and would like to attend this month's sampling, please Contact dan@surfridersd.org and dylan@sdcoastkeeper.org  for more info and to sign up.  Also, the California State Water Quality Board is asking volunteers to help them document trash levels and water flow with their new CreekWatch app for the Iphone (coming soon for Droids).  If you have an Iphone, check out the app--you can really help them out while you’re in the field.  It also helps them determine impaired water body (303d) listings too.

Tijuana Estuary Second Saturday Volunteer Stewardship Event - Saturday, June 11th, 9am to 12pm at Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center. Join the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve for trail maintenance and invasive plant removal. No experience necessary! Individuals, families and groups are welcome to participate. Volunteers must work in long pants and boots or sturdy shoes. Please wear sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat. Gloves and tools provided. Volunteers under 18: Must bring signed permission forms, available by request, and volunteers under 16 must attend with an adult. For more information contact Danielle Litke @dlitke@parks.ca.gov

NoBS Quarterly Workshop - the second quarter workshop will take place June 16th 6:30 to 8pm at Mark's house in IB - 321 Daisy Ave. Imperial Beach, CA. The NoBS campaign will be holding quarterly workshops to work on the 2011 Campaign plan/goals, coordinate events/volunteer opportunities and train new volunteers on the issues/policies outlining the campaign. If you are interested in attending or helping out with these workshops please send me some of your ideas at dan@surfridersd.org This quarter we will focus on planning for Tijuana River Action Month, and other important campaign action items.
Ocean Friendly Gardens is coming to IB! Join us Sunday July 17th at 10am at the entrance to the Tijuana Estuary for our next Lawn Patrol!!
We will take a quick walk up Imperial Beach Blvd and surrounding streets around the Estuary and check out some gardens that are mostly ocean friendly and some that are not so ocean friendly and talk about the difference. We will also visit City Hall in IB.
Lawn Patrols are a great way to learn about what makes an Ocean Friendly Garden ocean friendly, the impacts that the choices we make in our gardens have on the health of our local environment, and what easy steps you can take to turn your garden into an OFG!  We talk about soil health, plant choices, how to retain rainwater on-site, and how to use organic choices instead of chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides!
Next Monthly Tijuana River Action Network Meeting - The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, July 27th at 6:30 - 8pm in (location TBD). Network meetings are a great way to meet and share ideas with staff and volunteers from Fundacion la Puerta, Proyecto Fronterizo, Fundacion Que Transforma, Alter Terra, Surfrider Foundation, Border Encuentro, Grupo Ecologista Tijuana, Tijuana Calidad de Vida, Tijuana Estuary, WiLDCOAST, Tijuana River Citizens’ Council, 4 Walls International, and more. The agenda for the meeting will be posted to the TRAN blog.  Visit the blog: http://tijuanariveractionnetwork.blogspot.com/ for more information about the Network and notes from the past meetings. If interested in attending please contact Dan@surfridersd.org.
Become a fan of NoBS at:
As always check out the blog http://www.bordersewagecoalition.blogspot.com/  for the latest news, and here is the link to photos from the winter flooding in the Tijuana River Valley, Stewardship events and monthly water testing. http://www.flickr.com/photos/surfridersandiego/sets/72157625743131314/
Vigilancia de Calidad de Agua por Ciudadanos- Nuestro próximo evento de Vigilancia será mañana, sábado, 11 de junio, a las 9 a.m., donde estaremos recogiendo muestras de agua en 3 sitios diferentes en el valle del Rio Tijuana. Necesitamos voluntarios para obtener muestras de calidad de agua, y para tomar medidas químicas básicas regularmente para los sitios del Rio Tijuana y el estuario. Necesitamos voluntarios para entrenar en obtener muestras cada mes, o para ser disponibles como reemplazos para otros voluntarios en el estuario, o a través del condado entero. Si usted ha atendido la sesion de entrenamiento y le gustaria contribuir colectando muestras este mes, por favor contacte a dan@surfridersd.org o dylan@sdcoastkeeper.org para más información, y para registrarse. También, déjenos saber si está regresando como voluntario o si es nuevo(a) al programa.  En adición, la Junta Estatal de Calidad de Agua de California está buscando voluntarios para ayudar documentar niveles de basura y flujo de agua con su nuevo app para el iPhone CreekWatch (próximamente para el Droid). Si usted tiene un iPhone, busque el app y ayúdelos mientras esta en el campo.  Este app le ayudara a la Junta determinar listados de agua afectadas (303d) también.

Evento Voluntario del Estuario de Tijuana Cada Segundo Sábado Mensual- sábado, 11 de junio, 9 a.m. a 12 en el centro de visitantes del estuario de Tijuana. Únase a la Reserva de el Estudio del Estuario Nacional del Rio Tijuana para la preserva y conservación de plantas nativas. No se requiere experiencia previa!  Individuos, familias y grupos son cordialmente invitados a participar. Todo voluntario deberá trabajar en pantalones largos y botas o zapatos fuertes.  Por favor traiga bloqueo de sol, lentes solares y sombreros. Guantes y herramientas serán proveídos.  Voluntarios menores de 18 años: tienen que traer formas de permisos firmadas, las cuales tenemos disponibles, y voluntarios menores de 16 años tienen que ser acompañados por un adulto. Para más información contacte a Danielle Litke a dlitke@parks.ca.gov.

NoBS Taller Trimestral- el primer taller tomara lugar el 16 de junio de 6:30 a 8:00 p.m. en la residencia de Mark en Imperial Beach: 321 Daisy Ave., Imperial Beach, CA. La campaña NoBS estará conduciendo talleres trimestrales para trabajar hacia la campaña de trabajo del 2011, coordinar eventos y oportunidades para voluntarios, y para entrenar nuevos voluntarios en cuestiones de política subrayando la campaña. Si está interesado en atender o ayudar con estos talleres, por favor envíeme sus ideas a dan@surfridersd.org. Este trimestre estaremos concentrando en la planificacion del Mes de Accion del Rio Tijuana, y otros puntos mayores para la campaña.
Jardines Concientes del Oceano vienen para IB! Acompañenos el domingo, 17 de julio a las 10 a.m. en la entrada al estuario de Tijuana para nuestra proxima patrulla de patios!!
Estaremos tomando una caminata breve por Imperial Beach Blvd y las calles adjacentes al Estuario, y estramos viendo algunos jardines que son en gran parte benignos al oceano, igual como algunos que no son tan benignos, y platicaremos acerca de las diferencias.  Tambien visitaremos City Hall en IB.
Las Patrullas de patio son una perfecta manera para aprender que es lo que hace un Jardin Benigno al Oceano benigno, los impactos que tienen nuestras decisiones en nuestros jardines contra el medio ambiente, y que pasos faciles usted puede tomar para convertir su jardin en uno que beneficia el oceano! Estaremos hablando acerca de salud del suelo, opciones de plantas, como retener agua de lluvia en su sitio, y como utilizar opciones organicas en vez de fertilizantes quimicos, herbicidas, y pesticidas!
Proxima Reunion Mensual del Enlace de Accion para el Rio Tijuana - La proxima reunion esta programada para miercoles, 27 de julio de 6:30 p.m. a 8 p.m. (sitio sera determinado).  Reuniones de enlace son una gran manera para conocer y compatir ideas con miembros de la organizacion y voluntarios de la Fundacion la Puerta, Proyecto Fronterizo, Fundacion Que Transforma, Alter Terra, Surfrider Foundation, Border Encuentro, Grupo Ecologista Tijuana, Tijuana Calidad de Vida, Tijuana Estuary, WiLDCOAST, Tijuana River Citizens’ Council, 4 Walls International, y mas. La agenda para esta reunion sera publicada al blog TRAN.  Visite el blog:  http://tijuanariveractionnetwork.blogspot.com/ para mas informacion acerca del Enlace, y notas de reuniones pasadas. Si esta interesado(a) en atender, por favor contacte a Dan@surfridersd.org.

Hágase Fan de NoBS en:
Como siempre, vea nuestro blog en http://www.bordersewagecoalition.blogspot.com/  para las últimas noticias. Aquí está el enlace a fotos de la más reciente inundación del valle del rio Tijuana, eventos de administración, y pruebas de agua mensuales:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/surfridersandiego/sets/72157625743131314/

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Public Meeting To Discuss Water Quality And Water April 14 6 to 8pm

http://www.imperialbeachnewsca.com/news/article_8f6be1cc-614f-11e0-b5bb-001cc4c002e0.html The United States Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission (USIBWC) has scheduled a public meeting of the USIBWC Citizens Forum on Thursday, April 14, 6 - 8 p.m. at the Tijuana Estuary Meeting Room, 301 Caspian Way in Imperial Beach. The meeting will focus on water quality and water reuse. The purpose of the Citizens Forum is to promote the exchange of information between the USIBWC and the community about Commission projects and related activities. Information about the Imperial Beach Bacterial Source Identification Study will be presented by Damon Owen, Field Operations Manager/Assistant Project Manager for Weston Solutions. The purpose of the study, funded by the State Water Quality Control Board under the Clean Beaches Initiative, is to plan, design, and implement a Source Identification Survey to identify sources of bacterial contamination in the U.S. portion of the Tijuana River Watershed and recommend appropriate actions and activities to reduce the input of those sources to the Tijuana River and adjacent Pacific Ocean. There are limited data regarding bacterial loads from sources and activities on the U.S. side of the watershed. Information regarding the impact of certain land uses and point and non-point sources has not been collected. As such, there is potential for water quality improvements in the U.S. portion of the watershed. This study aims to quantify bacterial loads from potential sources and propose solutions to reduce the impact of bacterial loads in the Tijuana River Watershed and Pacific Ocean. The implementation of successful best management practices will result in a reduction in beach postings and closures. With an update on activities south of the border, David Roberto Navarro Herrera, Secretary of Urban Development and Ecology for the Municipality of Tijuana, will discuss installation of sediment basins that will capture sediment and trash. Also on the agenda, Michael R. Markus, P.E., General Manager of the Orange County Water District, will discuss the Groundwater Replenishment System, a 70-million gallon per day advanced water purification project that is the largest planned indirect potable reuse project in the world. The Groundwater Replenishment System takes secondary treated sewer water and runs it through an advanced treatment process consisting of microfiltration, reverse osmosis, and ultraviolet light with hydrogen peroxide, producing water that is of nearly distilled water quality. This water is then recharged into Orange County’s groundwater basin, ultimately becoming a part of the potable water supply and providing enough water for nearly 600,000 people. Members of the public who would like more information about the meeting may call 619-662-7600 or e-mail sally.spener@ibwc.gov.Reuse April 14

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

NoBS Quarterly Workshop Tonight!

First workshop will take place tonight March 9th 6:00 to 7:30pm at the Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center. Starting this year, in addition to the Network meetings, the NoBS campaign will be holding quarterly workshops to work on the 2011 Campaign plan/goals, coordinate events/volunteer opportunities and train new volunteers on the issues/policies outlining the campaign.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Massive sewage spill fouls Imperial Beach

By Sandra Dibble
and Mike Lee
Originally published January 18, 2011 at 3:06 p.m., updated January 18, 2011 at 8:44 p.m.

Sewage spill
An estimated 1.3 million gallons a day of sewage are flowing into the ocean just south of the international border, in what will rank among the largest single incidents to affect San Diego County in the past decade.
The ongoing leak adds a potent pollutant to coastal waters that currents commonly push north into the United States, where they mix with contaminated flow from the Tijuana River, which has lead to beach closures in South County for the past month.
Estimates of the spill size vary greatly — from more than 30 million gallons by environmentalists to just a few million gallons by wastewater officials in Mexico. Either way, the situation provides a vivid reminder that despite numerous upgrades to the sewage system in Tijuana, it remains a chronic environmental and human health problem with roots going back more than 70 years.
Baja California’s top health authority on Tuesday closed the beaches near the leak at Playas de Tijuana as a precautionary measure. Surfers in South San Diego County said they were concerned about getting sick from the tainted water.
The break was about one mile south of the border in a pipe linked to a pump station that lifts sewage to the Punta Bandera treatment plant. The state’s health department said a pipe ruptured when the ground gave way after December’s rainstorms.
A central question is when the leak started. Baja wastewater officials said Tuesday the major problems started last weekend and they acted as quickly as possible to a situation that started small and blew up without warning.
Environmentalists in Mexico said major flows began before Christmas. They and their counterparts in the United States questioned whether Mexico acted fast enough to address the break and issue warnings.
“This is pretty serious and demonstrates a breakdown in communication” between Mexican and U.S. officials, said Serge Dedina, head of the environmental group Wildcoast in Imperial Beach. “This is precisely an issue we have been trying to deal with — just getting basic notifications on sewage spills in Tijuana. Authorities have placed thousands of people at risk.”
Officials initially believed the problem was an overflow that typically occurs during rainstorms when sewage and stormwater mix in overloaded pipes, said Agustin Rojas, spokesman for the CESPT, the acronym of the state public service commission of Tijuana.
He said the scope of the issue was not initially apparent because it involved an underground sinkhole that formed around Dec. 29 but did not immediately damage the 30-inch pipe.
“We believe it began to have problems, but the water wasn’t flowing to the ocean yet,” Rojas said.
On Sunday, he said, “We had not detected the magnitude of the problem. ... It wasn’t until Monday.”
He said it would take another couple of days to stop the flow. The repairs involve replacing a 250-foot portion of the collector pipe that’s buried 15 feet below ground.
“We’ve got crews working long-hour shifts. It’s not an easy job, but they are committed to the task.”
Margarita Diaz, head of Probea, a Playas de Tijuana-based environmental organization, said the problems date back to Dec. 23.
“The collector was damaged, the ground collapsed, and it folded, and plugged it up. This caused the sewage to flow north toward the manholes. As it could not go to the pump station, it flowed through the drains.”
Diaz said the issue of the sewage overflows reached her office at the beginning of January, when local residents called and complained. When she called the CESPT, she said the common response was that the engineer was on vacation.
The Playas beach was closed Tuesday afternoon. “But this should have happened a long time ago,” she said. “It should have happened immediately, from the moment that the spill was detected. They were three weeks late.”
Mark McPherson, chief of land and water quality for San Diego County’s environmental health agency, said Tuesday afternoon that he had received no official notice of the incident. In this case, he said an alert would not have made a major difference because the Tijuana River is still flowing with millions of gallons a day of sewage-tainted water and the county has maintained beach closures for weeks in the South Bay because of that.
Dedina at Wildcoast said the problems at Playas de Tijuana likely are contributing to the mess caused by the Tijuana River.
“The stench at the south end of IB this morning was overpowering,” he said.
Conditions were worse south of the international border.
“I have been watching and smelling a stream of untreated sewage run down the street next to my house in Playas de Tijuana and to the ocean in a constant flow,” said resident Scott S. Peters. “The authorities have simply removed the manhole covers on my street and have been letting the sewage flow like a river since the storm a few weeks ago.”
Wastewater has been a major source of tension along the border since the early 1900s because Tijuana’s sewage system has not kept up with growth. Raw sewage flows into the Tijuana River whenever it rains. Agencies on both sides of the border have made big strides to cut down the pollution by building treatment plants and other facilities.

Friday, January 14, 2011

San Diego Group Using Grant To Reduce Cross Border Pollution

By Ed Joyce
January 14, 2011

A San Diego based environmental group is using a grant from a federal agency to reduce cross-border trash and pollution. The WiLDCOAST project will benefit beaches on either side of the border.
The $50,000 Environmental Protection Agency grant will fund WiLDCOAST's project called Clean Canyon (Cañón Limpio) for 16 months.
Ben McCue with WiLDCOAST said the effort focuses on the Los Laureles Canyon, a sub-basin of the Tijuana River Watershed and drainage area.
"This canyon is literally a stone's throw from the U.S./Mexico border fence," said McCue. "And all of the trash that's not collected in this canyon, with next rain will end up in the Tijuana Estuary and eventually off our border beaches."
Many people living in the canyon, he said, don't have basic municipal services, including trash collection.
"The project will be giving residents tools needed to improve trash management in their community using activities such as workshops, leadership trainings and clean-up events," McCue said. "Reducing pollution includes getting residents to recycle trash and use composting."
McCue said the project will start in February.
He said there is a movement in Tijuana to eliminate illegal settlements that create much of the trash and sewage problems that foul beaches on both sides of the border.
"Until those areas are eliminated or are provided basic services, such as sewage treatment and trash collection services, we're going to continue to feel the effects downstream in San Diego," said McCue. "Everyone recognizes that the city of Tijuana has a lot of work to do to get the city completely plumbed for sewage treatment and set up for trash collection."
McCue said there's always going to be a need for local Tijuana communities to improve trash collection and recycling through their own resources.
"Leadership training on how to mobilize their neighbors to work on innovative composting and recycling projects will clearly benefit the Tijuana Estuary and San Diego beaches," said McCue.
Beach water quality has long been an issue along the U.S.-Mexico border.
McCue said the non-profit WiLDCOAST works with border communities and agencies of both countries to reduce the sources of pollution fouling the region's waterways.
He said the project is part of EPA’s Border 2012 Program, which works to address shared environmental problems across the US-Mexico border.
"All of the border states have cross-border pollution problems," McCue said. "The binational Border 2012 program has work groups in all of the US-Mexico border states."

Monday, January 3, 2011

Pictures taken at Border Field State Park during the recent rainstorms

On 12/20 and 12/21/2010, a few of us drove down to Border field State Park and captured some pictures at the Goat Canyon Sediment basins, Smugglers Gulch, Dairy Mart Bridge, Saturn Blvd and Hollister Street. Not only did we see tons of plastic, styrofoam, sewage, and trash flowing from the Tijuana River, but we saw humans getting rescued. Some of the shots are pretty eye opening to say the least.