San Dieguito River Valley ConservancySan Dieguito
River Valley Conservancy
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92,000 Acres

SDRVC has a 35+ year record of moving the vision of a 92,000-acre San Dieguito River Park and its 70-mile Coast to Crest Trail from the ocean at Del Mar to Volcan Mountain north of Julian to a maturing reality.

35+ Year Record

SDRVC is led by a citizen Board of Directors and is supported in our activities and financially by hundreds of enthusiastic Conservancy members.

Joint Partners

SDRVC partners with the San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority, citizens, landowners, governments and other stakeholders to ensure coordinated watershed management and protection of our natural resources while fully respecting and protecting private property rights.

We have a 30+-year record of moving the creation of a 92,000-acre San Dieguito River Park and its 70-mile Coast to Crest Trail from Del Mar to Julian from a vision to reality.

Our non-profit conservancy for River Valley is supported by hundreds of enthusiastic members. We partner with the San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority, other non-profit organizations, citizens, landowners, governments, and other stakeholders conserve our natural resources, offer education about River Valley to our community, and provide recreational opportunities throughout the San Dieguito River watershed.

Mission

The San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy preserves, protects, and shares the natural and cultural resources of the San Dieguito River Valley through collaborative efforts to acquire lands, complete trails, restore habitats, establish educational programs, create interpretive centers, encourage recreation, and mobilize public support.

THE SAN DIEGUITO WATERSHED & RIVER PARK

The San Dieguito River watershed headwaters flow from springs on Volcan Mountain north of Julian and meanders some 55 miles through conifer and oak woodlands, grasslands, and chaparral to the San Dieguito Lagoon between Del Mar and Solana Beach for recreation in San Dieguito. It is the most intact watershed remaining in San Diego County and contains a variety of diverse ecosystems, plants, and wildlife.

COAST TO CREST TRAIL

Since 1986, the Conservancy has been working with its partners to develop and complete the planned 70-mile Coast to Crest Trail, as well as provide education about the River Valley. When complete, the Coast to Crest Trail will be a multi-use trail connecting the ocean at Del Mar to Volcan Mountain north of Julian. It will allow the public to explore the entire length of the San Dieguito Watershed and all its diverse, natural beauty. Interpretive panels and signage will provide educational opportunities along the trail.

View Coast to Crest Trail map

Timeline

  1. 1986

    A small group of citizens from the coastal area and Rancho Santa Fe form the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy to protect the San Dieguito Watershed.

  2. 1989

    Conservancy successfully supports the establishment of the San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority, a multi-governmental agency representing the six jurisdictions along the river corridor.

  3. 1990 - 1996

    Conservancy and its partners work to secure the River Park by acquiring land and resisting efforts to develop areas within the watershed, along with building community support and public awareness of the River Park and its mission.

  4. 1997

    By its 10th anniversary, Conservancy membership has grown from 10 to 350. The Conservancy continues to actively support the development of the River Park by protecting and restoring land in the watershed, fighting against inappropriate land development, and planning and building public trails.

  5. 1998

    Conservancy raises $200,000 to match a national foundation grant to purchase and protect land on Volcan Mountain.

  6. 2000

    Conservancy partners with the River Park to raise $650,000 in just two months, which, along with state grants, is used to purchase 232 acres on Bernardo Mountain.

  7. 2002

    Conservancy partners with the River Park to raise $650,000 in just two months, which, along with state grants, is used to purchase 232 acres on Bernardo Mountain.

  8. 2003

    Conservancy membership exceeds 1,000 people.

  9. 2005

    Conservancy raises $340,000 in public donations and receives a state grant of $800,000 to purchase 352 acres of Lake Sutherland East.

  10. 2007

    Conservancy celebrates its 20th anniversary and launches a program to accelerate the development of the Coast to Crest Trail.

  11. 2014

    The Conservancy, County of San Diego and the San Dieguito River Park JPA open the Birdwing Open Air Classroom in the San Dieguito Lagoon. Designed by Roesling Nakamura Terada Architects, the Birdwing won an award for urban solutions from the local chapter of American Institute of Architects. It is used to host a variety of educational and recreational programs in the Lagoon.

  12. 2015

    Conservancy saves the San Dieguito Lagoon Boardwalk from being removed by the State of California.

  13. 2016

    The Conservancy, City of Del Mar and County of San Diego complete the construction of the River Path Del Mar from Jimmy Durante Boulevard to the Grand Avenue Overlook.

The Conservancy is led by a volunteer Board of Directors and is supported by hundreds of enthusiastic Conservancy members with initiatives for the conversation of River Valley. It partners with the San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority, other non-profit organizations, citizens, landowners, governments, and other stakeholders conserve our natural resources, educate our community, and provide recreational opportunities throughout the San Dieguito River watershed.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

The San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy Board of Directors are elected to two three-year terms.

Officers include the President, Vice President, Treasurer, Corporate Secretary, and Past President.

Conservancy Board of Directors Meetings are held the third Wednesday of each month. Please contact our office at (858) 866-6956 or sdrvc@sdrvc.org for the agenda and to confirm the meeting date and location.

Board Members

Jim Smith, President
Del Mar Resident. Retired Electrical Engineer and Entrepreneur.
Slader Buck
Slader Buck, Vice President
Encinitas Resident. Retired – U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Lee Haydu, Secretary
Solana Beach resident. Former Mayor, City of Del Mar and past member of the 22nd District Agricultural Association District Board of Directors.
Peter DeFrancesca, CPA., Treasurer
Solana Beach Resident. Retired from Aldrich CPAs + Advisors LLP.
Chris Koury
Escondido Resident, Retired Psychiatrist.
Janice Swaisgood
Poway Resident, Educator.
Joe Bonner
Solana Beach Resident, President & CEO, Solana Beach Capital LLC.

Keith Colestock
Santa Luz resident. Retired Investment Advisor.

Ellie Haviland
Del Mar resident. Former Mayor, City of Del Mar.

Mark Hennenfent
Carmel Valley resident. President, M.H. Associates, LLC.

Dan King, J.D.
Carmel Valley resident, Assistant General Counsel-Federal Regulatory Law, Policy & Compliance-
San Diego Gas & Electric Company.

Donald Mosier, Ph.D., M.D.
Del Mar resident. Professor Emeritus in the Department of Immunology & Microbial Science at the Scripps Research Institute.

Robert Sheppard
Carlsbad resident. Retired college professor.

Gabriele Wienhausen, Ph.D.
La Jolla Resident, Distinguished Teaching Professor Emerita in the Division of Biological Sciences at UC San Diego.

CONSERVANCY ADVISORY BOARD

The Conservancy Board is assisted in setting strategic direction and reviewing Conservancy operations.

Advisory Board Members assist on Conservancy projects based on their expertise and experience. The present members of the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy Advisory Board:

Lynn Benn
Karen Berger
Judy Bernstein
Elizabeth Dernetz
Kimberly Godwin
Tom Golich
Renita Greenberg
Chris Khoury
Eric Lodge
Oliver Ryder
John Seiber
Peter Shapiro
William Simmons
Pam Slater-Price

STAFF

Cheryl Goddard, Executive Director

Cheryl Goddard hiking at Iron Mountain

Cheryl Goddard brings extensive experience in land use planning to her position as Executive Director. Most recently, she worked as a Senior Planner for the City of Chula Vista. Years earlier, in 2000 and with a just-earned degree in urban studies and planning from UC San Diego, Goddard began 16 years of service as an environmental planner and later as a manager in the County of San Diego’s departments of Planning and Land Use and Parks and Recreation. In those roles, she planned parks and trails, implemented land conservation programs, secured grants for habitat restoration, and oversaw colleagues specializing in environmental, cultural and biological resource management. In addition to her bachelor’s degree in urban studies and planning, Goddard earned a second bachelor’s degree, in ethnic studies, from UC San Diego and a master’s degree in public administration from San Diego State University. She is a member of the San Diego chapter of the Association of Environmental Professionals.

Emily Kochert, Conservation Manager

Emily is an Advocate to Protect the San Dieguito River in Valley, CA

Emily Kochert joined the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy as Conservation Manager in 2021. Kochert is responsible for the coordination and implementation of conservation programs. She leads habitat-restoration projects and takes an active role in SDRVC’s efforts to address climate-change issues and improve water quality in the San Dieguito River watershed.
Kochert has a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Florida and is in the process of earning a Masters of Natural Resources from Utah State University. She has a multi-disciplinary background including 20 years’ experience in natural and cultural resource management, environmental compliance, and Geographic Information Systems both in the public and private sectors.

Joseph Rivera, associate Conservation Manager

Joseph is an Advocate to Protect the San Dieguito River in Valley, CA

Joseph Rivera has joined the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy as Associate Conservation Manager. Rivera will assist Executive Director Cheryl Goddard and Conservation Manager Emily Kochert, with planning, coordinating, and implementing the SDRVC Citizen Science and Next to Nature (N2N) Programs as well as recruiting, training, and supervising SDRVC volunteers/docents.

As an intern at SDRVC from October 2019 to June 2020, Rivera conducted a research project measuring soil properties at the San Dieguito Lagoon, searching for factors limiting the growth of native marsh species, as well as invasive-species extraction efforts. He also assisted with restoring habitat and removing invasive plants. He has maintained wildlife cameras at multiple project sites.

Rivera volunteered at Scripps Institute of Oceanography at the Isabel Rivera-Collazo’s Geosciences Research Lab and ACE Americorp doing habitat-restoration projects in Southern California.

Rivera has an AA in Earth Science and Natural Science from Los Angeles Valley College and a BS from UC San Diego in Environmental Systems: Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution.

Our Partners