Jeff Clemetson | Editor
On May 12 and 13, the San Diego River Park Foundation (SDRPF) kicked off its annual River Days with events along the San Diego River from the headwaters in Julian all the way to the Famosa Slough in Ocean Beach. The four-day event, held over two weekends, continues May 19 and 20.
Several events in the Mission Valley area on opening weekend included a work party at the Native Plant Landscape in Old Town, hosted by the California Native Plant Society; an invasive species removal along the river near the Presidio Little League diamonds; a guided walk hosted by Walkabout International near Fashion Valley Mall; and Mother’s Day event at the San Diego River Garden.
At an event called Clean Water Warriors on May 12, SDRPF staff and volunteers offered educational and art booths for community members of all ages. SDRPF river ecosystem manager Shannon Quigly-Ramond explained the importance of the river and some of the work the foundation does to preserve it.
Due to start in a couple of weeks, the solar aeration project will increase the level of dissolved oxygen in the river water.
“When there’s not a lot of oxygen, it’s not a good environment for fish, we get lots of stinky smells,” she said. “Have you ever smelled the rotten egg smell? That is associated with low oxygen environments, it’s actually hydrogen sulfide coming out of the water.”
The project, funded by a grant from the San Diego River Conservancy, will involve large aerator boxes installed in the river that will act like the bubblers in a fish tank. The aerators will be placed in the river section between Qualcomm Way and Camino Del Este.
“We’ll take our lessons learned from this project and potentially implement it at other locations which are low in dissolved oxygen,” Quigly-Ramond said.
In addition to the update on the future project, participants at the Clean Water Warriors also conducted experiments testing the river water’s temperature, dissolved oxygen content, turbidity and PH level using a basic sampling kit.
Another station was set up to teach about the river’s plankton and bugs that the fish feed on. The plankton station was manned by volunteers Bill and Shirley Kimich who were oceanography teachers in Ontario, California before retiring to San Diego. The Kimichs shared their knowledge of plankton — including the fact that salt water plankton is brown or gold and freshwater plankton is green — with the River Days participants who then viewed the aquatic life under microscopes.
River Days continues May 19 and 20 with more events along the entire San Diego River. Local Mission Valley events will be held on May 19 and include a petting zoo, pony rides and river crafts activities hosted by Mission Valley Library at 1:30–3:30 p.m. and an event called Clean and Green River Clean-Up: Mission Valley East hosted by SDRPF at 9 a.m.–noon, meeting at Quicki-Lube 4232 Camino Del Rio North.
For more information about River Days or about the San Diego River Park Foundation, visit sandiegoriver.org.
— Reach Jeff Clemetson at email@example.com.