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2015 Spring

Calendar of Events Bird Counts Second Monday each month 7:30 am–Noon at Rios Ave trailhead Contact birds@sanelijo.org Docent Meetings

Lagoon Tidings Coming Soon! Harbaugh Seaside Trails

Second Tuesday each month 9–11 am at the Nature Center

Guided Nature Walks Every Saturday 10–11 am at the Nature Center Wildlife Walks—Explore new habitats Second Saturday each month 9–11 am April: Rios Avenue Trail May: Santa Carina Trail June: Rios Avenue Trail July: Santa Helena Trail Family Fun Days—First Sunday of the month, 11:30 am–1:30 pm at the Nature Center Sunday Strolls—Third Sunday of the month, 3–4 pm at the Nature Center

Family Discovery Days “Spring EGG-ucation” March 21–22, 1–4 pm at the Nature Center

Lagoon Discovery Camp April 6–10, 9 am–1 pm at the Nature Center (and 3 sessions in July) see article page 1

Community Habitat Restoration Volunteer Restoration Events Third Saturday each month (the fourth Saturday in April) 9 am–Noon April 25, May 16, June 20, July 18 RSVP@SanElijo.org/restoration-events Stewards Restoration Workshops— Every Wednesday 9:30 am–Noon Contact Platoon@sanelijo.org to join

> > > Save the Date! < < <



Saturday, September 19, 2015 1  |  Lagoon Tidings Spring 2015

At the start of the New Year, we released major news of what used to be called The Campaign for Gateway Park. The George & Betty Harbaugh Charitable Foundation has given $1.15 million to secure the Gateway property, now re-named Harbaugh Seaside Trails. As a park for people, plants, and animals, it will never be developed. Yet, last-in support is still needed as we prepare to close the campaign and begin restoration of this property. We are 90% there! Once the property loan is retired, Harbaugh Seaside Trails will become a place for contemplation and enjoyment, dog walking, and a gathering spot for stunning sunsets viewed over the ocean. The location of this 3.4-acre coastal overlook, adjacent to San Elijo Lagoon, creates an important buffer for protected wetland habitat. Positioned along the Pacific Coast Highway, it’s a natural extension of the Coastal Rail Trail and will be accented by walking continued on page 4

Register for Lagoon Discovery Camps Lagoon Discovery Camps will be offered this spring and summer for youth ages 6–9. As an extension of our school and public programs, the camps provide opportunities for kids to spend more time in nature, digging deep into the mysteries of the lagoon’s flora and fauna. Studies suggest that there are many benefits linked to surrounding yourself in nature. It has been reported that time spent in the outdoors can improve self-confidence, increase happiness, and enhance creativity. Through our camps we hope to provide those sacred continued on page 5


President’s Message

Doug Gillingham, President

By Doug Gillingham, Board President

Linda Jones, Vice-President Matthew Adams, Secretary Edward Quinlivan, Treasurer Sally Foster Scott Griffiths Pastor Bill Harman Susie Hedrick Kevin Johnson David Kramer Nicolle Selby-Thomas Elizabeth Venrick, PhD Aaron Weiss

President’s Council Frances Hamilton White, Chair

STAFF Doug Gibson, Executive Director/ Principal Scientist doug@sanelijo.org Barry Lindgren, Associate Director barry@sanelijo.org Jennifer Bright, Development Director jennifer@sanelijo.org Elayna Flanders, Education Coordinator elayna@sanelijo.org



Of or relating to a duty of acting in good faith with regard to the interests of another

The word fiduciary is on the one hand a twenty-dollar word full of splendor and ambition. But on the other, it is impressively economical, generating as it does five syllables from only nine letters. In this sense it reflects the conservancy. We, too, have bold ambitions: to restore habitat and ecological function, promote conservation education, and build community, all for the benefit of current and future generations. But as a non-profit corporation, we seek to do our work economically, being ever respectful of and thankful for the donations and grants that make our work possible. The conservancy is governed by an all-volunteer board of directors, Doug Gillingham responsible for charting policy and strategic vision, assisting with raising funds to implement that vision, and perhaps most important of all, for acting as fiduciaries on behalf of those who donate time and money to our cause. Our fiduciary pledge to you, our members, donors, and stakeholders, is to ensure your contributions are spent and invested wisely, and that the organization is managed to gold-level standards of financial accountability and transparency. The conservancy has always done a very good job in this regard. One of the tasks of the board over the next year will be to review our controls, policies, and procedures to ensure we continue to remain worthy of your full trust and support. I’ll keep you posted on our progress. See you on the trails! v

Tara Fuad, Education Director tara@sanelijo.org Debra Hager, Administrative Assistant debra@sanelijo.org Angelique Herman, Restoration Ecologist angelique@sanelijo.org Bradley Nussbaum, Associate Biologist bradley@sanelijo.org Nick Regoli, Associate Biologist nick@sanelijo.org Debby Strauss, Program Associate debby@sanelijo.org Michelle Tateyama, GIS & Database Manager michelle@sanelijo.org David Varner, Resource Management Director david@sanelijo.org

Mailing Address:

PO Box 230634 Encinitas, CA 92023-0634

Office Address:

777 So. Highway 101, Suite 112 Solana Beach

Contact Information:

T: (760) 436-3944 F: (760) 944-9606 E: info@sanelijo.org W: SanElijo.org Facebook.com/SanEijo Twitter.com/SanElijoLagoon

Editor: Debby Strauss Design: Artefact Design

CONSERVANCY 2  |  Lagoon Tidings Spring 2015

The Road to Restoration By Doug Gibson, Executive Director/Principal Scientist The San Elijo Lagoon Restoration project continues to progress. We are preparing for construction and obtaining the necessary permits. It is likely that our final environmental document will be released by summer. We are working with the resource agencies to ensure that every single component of this project has been reviewed to minimize impacts and to maximize the overall benefit to the environment—both now and in the future. We are also beginning to look at the constructability of the project, which can sometimes look different than the conceptual design phases. We are carefully reviewing where equipment can be placed and how it’s going to move around this fragile habitat. This becomes most important when you add the rail line and the highway project being constructed in the same timeframe. That is why Caltrans decided to hire one single manager that will oversee all three projects through a Contract Management General Contractor (CMGC) process. This will allow for one entity to maximize the use of space and limit the time we are working in the habitat. This process is also set up to save taxpayer’s money, get people moving more effectively and quickly, and allow the lagoon to begin its recovery from the enhancement process. Your continued support has allowed us to stay involved at every critical step. We look forward to keeping you updated on progress of lagoon restoration and upcoming community forums. v

Lagoon Protects Beaches from Creek Bacteria

Percent Occurrence of Sampling Sites being over CA Beach Standards 70%

Occurrences Over the CA Beach Standard (%)


Water Quality Bacteria Study Completed






By Bradley Nussbaum, Associate Biologist


A four-month water quality bacteria study was conducted from June through September of 2014. The purpose of the bacteria study was to determine how well San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve filters and dilutes the water coming into the lagoon before it reaches the ocean. The study was conducted during the summer dry season—and at low tide—to minimize dilution by rain and ocean water. Minimizing these environmental factors helps to isolate the worst case scenario of bacteria in the lagoon. The bacteria types measured during the study were enterococcus, total coliforms, and fecal coliforms. Sampling was completed once a week at five different sites in the reserve. Sampling sites at Escondido Creek and La Orilla Creek measure bacteria of the water that flows into the lagoon. The three other sites measured the progression of the water through the lagoon: one site in the East Basin at the dike, the second site along the main channel across from Cardiff Cove in the Central Basin, and the third site at the inlet beside Coast Highway 101. The five sites thus show a progression of the water from the two creeks that feed the lagoon and all the way to the inlet at the ocean.

Escondido Creek

La Orilla Creek


Cardiff Cove


Bacteria Sampling Sites Fecal Coliforms


Total Coliforms

The results of the study show high bacteria levels as water flows into the lagoon at the two creeks. Escondido Creek is above the California Beach Standard for bacteria 60% of the time and La Orilla Creek is above the standard 10% of the time. As the water progresses through the lagoon, however, bacteria levels drop. Bacteria measurements lower to 30% at the dike, 5% at Cardiff Cove, and 0% at the inlet. This study reveals that San Elijo Lagoon is successfully protecting the beaches from high bacteria water that comes from the creeks.

Steward of the Season – Karen Freeman

Karen Freeman and her parents, Mike and Jan Bigelow, remove invasive plants during a Lagoon Platoon Steward workshop.

At the start of 2014, Karen Freeman decided to increase her commitment to the lagoon by participating in weekly Lagoon Platoon Steward Workshops. She came eager to get outside and learn about the natural processes that occur in the reserve. Since that day, Karen has expanded her skills and knowledge by participating in more than 40 native habitat restoration events with Lagoon Platoon and completing San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy Docent Training. She is an asset to the community habitat restoration program as she works with light-hearted enthusiasm while rigorously executing restoration tasks. When asked what she enjoys most about Lagoon Platoon, Karen said, “I learn a lot, the people are nice and fun to be around, and our work makes a direct and immediate impact on the environment.”

Working in the education field for 20 years, Karen is comfortable sharing her passion and knowledge about the reserve. Stewards and volunteers now look up to Karen as she guides educational nature walks and leads invasive species removal activities during community restoration events. “Not only does Karen contribute to Lagoon Platoon through her own efforts directly, but she mentors new stewards, volunteers for leadership roles, and puts a smile on the faces of those she works with,” attests Restoration Ecologist, Angelique Herman. The San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve continues to be an exciting and beautiful place because of dedicated community members like Karen. Thank you!

Continued from page 1, Coming Soon! Harbaugh Seaside Trails

trails, a viewing overlook, and native plants. The Harbaugh Charitable Foundation was founded by George Harbaugh after the passing of his wife Betty. George wanted to ensure that the family estate would be invested to better the lives of others. While alive, the Harbaughs supported numerous charities and causes, including local libraries, the San Diego Humane Society, and Balboa Park. George donated musical equipment and funded young musicians to attend jazz school. Betty Harbaugh was a 34-year member and past president of the Point Loma Thursday Club, formed in 1921 to combine social activities with civic and benevolent projects. Today the Harbaugh Foundation

…Harbaugh Seaside Trails will become a place for contemplation and enjoyment, dog walking, and a gathering spot for stunning sunsets viewed over the ocean. continues its philanthropic mission, here in North County, with Harbaugh Seaside Trails. Heading the foundation is former Solana Beach resident, Joe Balla, who shared community concerns about commercial development of this property. Balla, who works in real estate planning and asset

management, is the Harbaugh Foundation director, and was a longtime friend of the Harbaughs. Support is already in. Members of the LLC, who created the property loan, have generously offered a matching gift to help us realize our goal. This is your opportunity to be remembered, or to honor others, by making a gift that saves a critical part of California’s coastal heritage. Donations are welcome and can be made securely online at SanElijo.org/Seaside-Trails. Or you may call us directly at (760) 436-3944 x 705. Thank you for your past, present, and future support of Harbaugh Seaside Trails. v

Plant This, Not That! Bush Poppy / Acacia Bush poppy (Dendromecon rigida) is a native evergreen shrub with cheerful yellow flowers—an attractive choice for wildlife-friendly landscaping. A member of the poppy family, bush poppy has bright flowers that can be up to two inches wide and attract a diversity of pollinators. It occurs naturally throughout much of California, so it is adapted to our natural weather patterns. It thrives in full sun and without summer water. You can find bush poppy for sale at Las Pilitas or Moosa Creek Nurseries. Acacia species (Acacia spp.) are widely planted in California for their fast growth and attractive flowers. Most acacia species are native to Australia and likewise grow well in our Mediterranean climate. With

fewer predators and opportune climatic adaptations, acacia has the ability to out-compete native shrubs and form dense monocultures. Acacia has also been found to have allelopathic properties, which means it releases a toxin that inhibits seed germination of native plant species. At present, there are more than 14 acacia species naturalized in San Diego County—many of which are considered invasive throughout the state. Two species of acacia, Acacia cyclop and Acacia longifolia, are particularly invasive in San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve. Help keep native vegetation communities free from aggressive invaders and choose to plant bush poppy in your landscape instead of acacia.

Bush poppy photo: Beatrice F. Howitt © California Academy of Sciences

Golden Acacia photo: Neal Kramer 4  |  Lagoon Tidings Spring 2015

Docent in the Spotlight—Stu Rosenwasser Stu Rosenwasser has been an avid outdoorsman his entire life. He bikes, runs, scuba dives, and plays tennis. His career in rocket science led him into energy systems in Yonkers, New York. He relocated with work to Southern California, then east again to Washington, D.C. He retired in 2012 and lives near San Elijo Lagoon, where he can share with students and visitors his love for nature. “I have always loved the outdoors, but I realized that I never took the time to understand the plant and animal world— I was always moving too fast,” reflected Stu. “But now I can tell the differences among a Godwit, a Whimbrel, and a Long-billed Curlew.”  A committed docent at both San Elijo Lagoon and Torrey Pines, Stu is generous with his time and talents. “Becoming a docent has been a great way to get involved in the community, and it’s really fun to see the kids get excited and learning about nature. It gives you the feeling that you are doing something helpful,” said Stu. In his second year as a docent with the conservancy, Stu leads walks regularly, and especially enjoys the 5th grade water program. With a great sense of humor and an endlessly inquisitive mind, we are fortunate to have Stu as part of the docent family. When not leading walks, Stu likes to play tennis, walk his dog Georgie Girl, read, travel, and spend time with his wife Ronnie— this summer will mark their 50th anniversary!

Stu shares his knowledge of watersheds with 5th graders.

New Staff Member – Debra Hager Debra Hager recently joined the conservancy staff as office administrative assistant. She implements established systems, procedures, and policies and supports the associate director in financial document management. She brings more than 20 years’ experience in the investment advisory industry in various capacities, including trading analytics, mutual funds, and corporate actions management. A longtime

conservancy member, Debra also volunteers with the Lagoon Platoon habitat restoration program. She comments, “My appreciation for natural ecosystems is enhanced by the field experiences I’ve had.” Debra holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Economics from UC Santa Barbara. She enjoys hiking, wine tasting, cooking, drawing, reading, and traveling in her spare time.

Continued from page 1, Lagoon Discovery Camp

outdoor moments of exploration and discovery—something the lagoon can do so well. We’ll explore the unique habitats of the San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve, and make friends while playing and learning outdoors. Campers will delight in fine-tuning their senses in nature. They will observe plant and animal life by hearing, seeing, smelling, touching, and even tasting nature through hands-on activities, guided nature hikes, eco-inspired arts & crafts, journaling, and storytelling. Lagoon Discovery Camps provide a unique opportunity for children to get the full nature experience. Frequent early-life outdoor experiences have been identified as the most important factor in developing an

A close-up view of nature environmental ethic in adults. We hope that by providing an extended period in nature, combined with opportunities to explore and practice conservation skills, campers will leave with a budding conservation ethic that will stick with them for the rest of their lives. Sessions are scheduled for the weeks of April 6–10, July 13–17, July 20–24, & July 27–31 from 9 am–1 pm and will be held at the San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center. Spots are limited to 16 students per week. The cost is $150 per child. A special thanks to Mona Baumgartel, a conservancy member and private donor, who is helping make this camp affordable to all. Scholarships are available to those in need. Register online today—as camps will sell out: SanElijo.org/Camps. v

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS Welcome New Board Members In the New Year we welcomed three additional board members. We also recognize and thank departing board members Mark Huffman, Patricia Rinaker, and Paul Worthington (who is this year’s gala co-chair) for their dedicated years of service.

Matthew Adams, Board Secretary Matt was born and raised in Olivenhain, and has always enjoyed the reserve for hikes and sunset views. Matt and his wife, Danielle, wanted to extend their support for the Lagoon Restoration Project, so they joined the President’s Council. Matt is a financial planner with Hokanson Associates, a boutique family wealth management firm in Solana Beach. He was a volleyball scholar athlete at UC Santa Barbara and graduated cum laude with a business economics degree, emphasizing accounting.  He received his CPA while working for Deloitte LLP, both locally and abroad in their Sydney and London practices.

Susie Hedrick Susie and her husband, Steve, have lived near San Elijo Lagoon for 30 years. She has enjoyed walking and running the lagoon trails and observing lagoon birds, animals, springtime flowers, and fall colors. She learned to “bird by ear” while running the lagoon trails. She participates regularly in area bird counts and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Project FeederWatch. She is a long-term conservancy supporter and has been a member of the President’s Council for five years. Susie graduated from UC San Diego with a bachelor’s degree in biology. She is currently a lab coordinator at the Salk Institute where she engages in biological research.

David Kramer David and his wife, Debbie, are longtime Solana Beach residents. David is a native of Johannesburg, South Africa, and relocated to San Diego County in 1984. He and Debbie raised their two children, Joel and Tamara, on South Rios Avenue for many years. Their proximity to San Elijo Lagoon inspired their membership. David is the founder of Oakhurst Builders, a construction company specializing in custom residential and small commercial projects. He has a naturalist’s passion for the outdoors, geography, bird watching, and travel.

New Interactive Trails Map Online: SanElijo.org/Trails

Nature Center Loop

Log on to SanElijo.org/Trails and browse the recently upgraded trails map. By clicking on a trailhead, users can access trail directions, highlights, and how to connect all the trails. Send the link to your friends and encourage them to get outdoors with you and explore San Elijo Lagoon. This important visitor feature was made possible through your membership.


La Orilla

Santa Santa Inez Carina

N. Rios Avenue Solana Hills

6  |  Lagoon Tidings Spring 2015

Santa Helena

Thank you, and see you on the trails!

Ways of Giving Birds of a Feather SAN ELIJO LAGOON CONSERVANCY


Saturday, September 19, 2015 Lomas Santa Fe Country Club This biennial event raises funds that support programs for children in nature. We invite you to join as a sponsor. Aligning with the conservancy and its corporate partners demonstrates your company’s commitment to support education in land, air, and water initiatives. The gala provides significant visibility and networking opportunities that are sure to serve you well. It’s coming soon! We invite you to soar with us. Sponsorships include recognition in publications, invitations to the 2016 Conservancy VIP reception and much more. Check out the new offerings our sponsorship levels provide. Lomas Santa Fe Country Club

$20,000 OSPREY SPONSOR New! Private Sunset Sip & Stroll Enjoy an evening at the San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center for 20 guests. Includes light appetizers and premium wines. Ideal for client appreciation or creating a memorable personal event.

$10,000 NORTHERN HARRIER SPONSOR New! Picture This Perfectly Gain eco-photography expertise in a private lagoon tour for 10 led by an outdoor photographer. Trailside refreshments included.

$5,000 AMERICAN KESTREL SPONSOR New! Birds & Breakfast Explore morning colors, sights, and sounds with naturalist guides for 6 guests. Trailside refreshments included. Sponsorships begin at the $1,000 level. For all giving opportunities, please contact: Jennifer Bright, Gala Director (760) 436-3944 x 705 jennifer@sanelijo.org Visit SanElijo.org/Gala for more information, gala invitations and news.

7  |  Lagoon Tidings Spring 2015

Nonprofit Organization US Postage

PA I D San Diego, CA Permit No. 2686

P. O. Box 230634 | Encinitas, California 92023-0634 Change Service Requested Membership Renewal Please check your renewal date. If it is soon or expired, please use the enclosed envelope to renew your membership. Thanks!

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Simply send an email to newsletter@sanelijo.org with ‘Subscribe’ in the subject line and your mailing address in the message. Thanks for helping to save paper!

8  |  Lagoon Tidings Spring 2015

Profile for San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy

Lt15 vol1  

Lagoon Tidings is the membership newsletter by San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy. Spring 2015 Vol 1

Lt15 vol1  

Lagoon Tidings is the membership newsletter by San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy. Spring 2015 Vol 1