So often, the tines of our three-pronged mission overlap. That’s the case at River Path Del Mar, where the Conservancy closed escrow in October on .36 acre of lagoon-fronting property to advance conservation, education and recreation with a single, $157,000 deal.
For anyone who supports our work, please pat yourself on the back. This deal is the Conservancy at its best.
First, some background.
Through the years, we have partnered with the City of Del Mar to plan and restore two segments of the path — one between the railroad tracks and Jimmy Durante Boulevard and a second from the boulevard to the Grand Avenue Bridge. We assist with invasive plant removal and all manner of cleanups. We organize volunteer crews to plant appropriate specimens, in particular those that attract pollinators. That’s conservation.
Our program includes signage, field trips, and planning and funding for a multi-sensory interpretive loop. River Path Del Mar opens a unique door to critical wetlands at the convergence of the fresh-water river and the salty sea. As it hugs the lagoon, River Path is a prime destination for visitors to see, smell, hear and feel why wetlands are important. That’s education.
On any given day, the River Path attracts people of all ages and abilities. Children chirp and scamper along a path that curves through the brush. Fitness-minded grownups power walk and jog. Shutterbugs frame up photographs (so many birds and so much color make for so much to shoot) while other folks find benches for moments of quiet contemplation. That’s recreation.
Our newly-acquired lots west of the Grand Avenue support all of this and will play an important role in advancing the final phase of River Path, from the bridge to Crest Canyon.
The lots are blanketed with non-native iceplant. City of Del Mar planners suggest that removing the invasive plants and restoring the land as native habitat may assist the City in meeting mitigation requirements for the planned path extension to the east.
We are pleased to offer use of the property as mitigation. City resources, in turn, are covering the engineering, planning and permitting required to complete a restoration plan. When the time comes, we’ll be enlisting volunteers to help with the work.
As planned, the final 2,200-foot-long River Path segment includes a raised boardwalk supported by pilings. To compensate for disturbance caused by the boardwalk’s pilings, environmental laws require the restoration of similar property elsewhere. That’s where our little lots will become so valuable.
So far, support for River Path has come from the City of Del Mar, Del Mar Foundation, Malk Nature Fund, REI and generous gifts from the Conservancy’s donors. Next year, we will embark upon a capital campaign to raise funds to construct the path. Thank you!