Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve

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Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve
IUCN category IV (habitat/species management area)
Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve coastline.jpg
Area9.45 km2 (3.65 sq mi)
Official nameTijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve
Designated2 February 2005
Reference no.1452 [1]

Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve is a natural reserve in Imperial Beach, California and San Ysidro, San Diego. It encompasses the Tijuana River Estuary, located on the Mexico–United States border. It is divided into two parts: the Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge on the north, and Border Field State Park in the south.


Access and features

The Tijuana River Estuary. Tijuana River Estuary.jpg
The Tijuana River Estuary.

It can be accessed from the Coronado Avenue exit (Exit 4) from Interstate 5. [2] It is established as part of the National Estuarine Research Reserve system in the United States and managed in part as a Biological Field Station by San Diego State University (SDSU)'s College of Sciences. The water flow of Tijuana River is often intense; droughts dry up the river completely while the same area overflows during flood. [3]

Recreational and educational activities

This reserve is a good place for bird-watching since as many as 370 bird species, both native and migrating, use the area as a stopover or for breeding. Schoolchildren often come to this reserve to take nature classes in classrooms and excursions. [4] Visitors of all ages can come to the visitor center for activities. Among the activities are videos that can be shown upon request, and it is shown in both English and Spanish. Guests can also take a walk on North and South McCoy trails, where they can access primary bird-watching areas and the mouth of Tijuana River, where it empties directly into Pacific Ocean. [5]


A $1.6 million grant was awarded by the California Integrated Waste Management Board to clean up the trash and debris that has collected on the Tijuana River Valley and Goat Canyon Estuary. These lie within the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve. Storm water has carried an influx of debris, tires, and trash to the shores of the Tijuana River Valley. Goat Canyon sediment basins were constructed in 2005 to help manage the storm water and debris. California State Parks will be in charge of maintaining the upkeep of the reserve. They are also responsible for keeping the environment habitable for the wildlife. [6] In 2013, a nonprofit group, 4Walls, was awarded $45,000 to aid in the cleanup of the Tijuana River by taking the trash pulled from the river and use it for building materials. This will reduce the costs of the park space materials, and make use of the trash collected to build park benches. To help with the cleanup of Los Sauces Park, Mexico's Environment Ministry (SEMARNAT) has donated materials and employed over 100 residents to replace the wild undergrowth with plants native to the area. This was made possible through SEMARNAT's "Temporary Employment Program". [7]

See also

Related Research Articles

Imperial Beach, California City in California, United States

Imperial Beach is a residential beach city in San Diego County, California, with a population of 26,324 at the 2010 census. The city is the southernmost city in California and the West Coast of the United States. It is in the South Bay area of San Diego County, 14.1 miles (22.7 km) south of downtown San Diego and 5 miles (8 km) northwest of downtown Tijuana, Mexico.

Border Field State Park

Border Field State Park is a state park of California, United States, containing beach and coastal habitat on the Mexico–United States border. The park is within the city limits of Imperial Beach in San Diego County, next to the suburb of Playas de Tijuana in Mexico. It contains the southernmost point in the state of California. The refuge forms the southern part of the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve.

Tijuana River

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Tijuana River Estuary

The Tijuana River Estuary is an intertidal coastal wetland at the mouth of the Tijuana River in San Diego County, California, in the United States bordering Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. It is the location of the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve, Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge, and Border Field State Park. The estuary is a shallow water habitat. Often termed an intermittent estuary since its volume is subject to the discharge controlled by the seasons of the year, the volume of the estuary fluctuates and at times there is dry land, or flooded areas. It was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1973.

Friendship Park is a half-acre binational park located along the United States-Mexico border in the San Diego–Tijuana region. Located within the larger Border Field State Park in California's San Diego county, the park includes the border fence dividing the two countries where residents of both countries can meet in person. On the U.S. side, the park used to be part of the Monument Mesa picnic area but is now wholly located on federal property under the Department of Homeland Security and is heavily monitored by U.S. Border Patrols 24 hours a day. To the south of this place is the Playas de Tijuana, Baja California.

Tijuana River Mouth State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) is a marine protected area that extends offshore of southern San Diego County on California’s south coast. The SMCA covers 2.91 square miles.

Goat Canyon (Tijuana River Valley) Canyon mostly within Baja California

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Joy Buswell Zedler is an American ecologist and professor of botany at the University of Wisconsin–Madison (UW), holding the title of Aldo Leopold Chair of Restoration Ecology. In addition to restoration ecology, she specializes in the ecology of wetlands, rare species, interactions between native and introduced species, and adaptive management.

Smugglers Gulch Canyon on the Mexico–US border

The Smuggler's Gulch is part of a steep walled canyon about 2 miles (3.2 km) inland of the Pacific Ocean. The canyon crosses the Mexico–United States border, between Tijuana, Baja California, and San Diego, California, and Smuggler's Gulch is the part of the canyon on the US side of the border. It may also be called Cañón del Matadero or Valle Montezuma in Spanish, but these names apply more generally to the whole canyon. Smuggling activities within Smuggler's Gulch have occurred since the 19th century, giving this part of the canyon its name.


  1. "Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve". Ramsar Sites Information Service. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  2. Tijuana Estuary NP, accessed November 26, 2009
  3. Xia, Rosanna (March 13, 2019). "Destruction from sea level rise in California could exceed worst wildfires and earthquakes, new research shows". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved 2019-03-15.
  4. San Diego Day Trips Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve, accessed November 26, 2009
  5. Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center Archived 2009-11-24 at the Wayback Machine , accessed November 26, 2009
  6. "State Agencies Work Together for Border Cleanup Project: Trash and Tires from Mexico Blocking California Wetlands and Estuary." States News Service, 15 Sept. 2009. Gale   A216141333
  7. "San Diego Center for Civic Engagement and U.S. EPA Award $45,000 in Grants for New Park Space." States News Service, 23 Sept. 2013. Gale   A343667810

Coordinates: 32°33′20″N117°07′22″W / 32.55556°N 117.12278°W / 32.55556; -117.12278