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Residents Clean Swan Canyon To Protect Watershed

By Brian Myers

More than 200 volunteers, organized by San Diego Canyonlands, participated in the cleanup of Swan Canyon.

Swan Canyon and other canyons in City Heights act as drains to Pueblo Watershed. This is where rain and other sources of water collect along 60 miles of urban landscape in the cities of San Diego, La Mesa, Lemon Grove and National City. Pueblo is San Diego’s most highly populated watershed, making it particularly susceptible to urban runoff, water that collects pollutants as it flows from streets to creeks and canyons.

“Getting people involved to take care of them is critical,” said Eric Bowlby, Executive Director of San Diego Canyonlands.

Urban runoff that enters the canyons will eventually make its way to the San Diego Bay.

“The people that get involved inland learn that they are part of a very important solution,” said Bowlby.

The neighborhood canyon group, Friends of Swan Canyon, continue to protect the watershed. Every first Saturday of the month they meet for habitat restoration, maintenance and cleanup.

Eric Bowlby: As we pave the surrounding watershed and all of the land surrounding the canyons with parking lots and houses and sidewalks and roads; the water runs off of those areas and it’s on its way to the coast. And it usually has an awful lot of pollution in it from the urban environment.

Today we’re in City Heights and we’re in Swan Canyon. Our philosophy is sustainable stewardship. So getting people involved to take care of them is critical. We have what we call friends group leaders that put a flag in the ground and say, “I will help lead the charge in my neighborhood to take back these open spaces, to transform them so the youth and the residents and the neighbors can enjoy them, have an escape to nature from an otherwise completely paved and urbanized environment.”

We are a part of a watershed. The canyons are a very important entry point and exit point for urban runoff. The water runs off of those areas, down into the canyons and it’s on its way to the coast. We see this as in important opportunity to clean it up. So this is one of the solutions. And the people that get involved inland, here in City Heights, they learn that they are part of a very important solution. They get involved enthusiastically. When people get involved to take care of their local environment, they know it’s sustainable, sustainable stewardship!

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Coastal Cleanup Starts Six Miles Inland
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