Local Environmental Groups Oppose Tijuana River Valley Campground
The Surfrider Foundation San Diego and other environmental advocacy groups called Tuesday on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors to postpone construction of a campground at the Tijuana River Valley Regional Park.
Supervisors allocated $4 million for the campground in the recently passed fiscal year budget, but activists say continuous sewage spills from the nearby Tijuana River pose health risks for potential visitors.
Bethany Case with the Surfrider Foundation and a co-founder of the South Bay Clean Water Movement, said the park isn't yet suitable for further development.
According to Surfrider, the closest beach to the proposed campground, the Tijuana Slough Shoreline, was closed 167 days in 2017 due to poor water quality related to sewage flows that have plagued South Bay waterways for decades. The beach has been closed 64 days so far this year.
Case was joined at a news conference by members of Citizens Against Sewage, San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action and the National Border Patrol Council, as well as former Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, who is running for a District 4 supervisor seat that includes much of the city of San Diego.
Fletcher said the benefits of outdoor recreation in the Tijuana River Valley are negated by its current state. He called on county officials to better protect the area's natural resources.
"To wash your spirit clean by enjoying our amazing beaches, you need beaches that aren't closed by contamination and pollution," he said. "It's time for the county of San Diego to step up its commitment for clean water. It's time for them to start cracking down on polluters. It's time for them to be a leader in calling for the federal government to take action."
Campground construction is expected to begin next summer.
Supervisor Greg Cox has long advocated for construction of the Tijuana River Valley campground. In a statement, he said county staff are conducting an environmental review of the site, and will seek a new location if it isn't deemed suitable.
In May, the Surfrider Foundation filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue the International Boundary and Water Commission, a binational agency charged with overseeing efforts to stem ongoing pollution. The foundation argued the commission hasn't done enough to address water infrastructure that has allowed millions of gallons of sewage to flow into the U.S.