Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve

Last updated
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

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Imperial Beach, California</span> City in the state of 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Border Field State Park</span> State park in San Diego, California

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tijuana River</span> River in Mexico and California

The Tijuana River is an intermittent river, 120 mi (195 km) long, near the Pacific coast of northern Baja California state in northwestern Mexico and Southern California in the western United States. The river is heavily polluted with raw sewage from the city of Tijuana, Mexico.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">South Bay (San Diego County)</span> Region of the San Diego Metro Area in San Diego County

The South Bay, also known as South County, is a region in southwestern San Diego County, California consisting of the cities and unincorporated communities of Bonita, Chula Vista, East Otay Mesa, Imperial Beach, Lincoln Acres, National City, and South San Diego.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve</span> Facility in Watsonville, United States

The Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve is a nature reserve that is located at 1700 Elkhorn Road in Watsonville, California. The reserve encompasses the central shore of Monterey Bay and is approximately 100 miles (160 km) south of San Francisco, California. The Elkhorn Slough is established as a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and is being managed as the Elkhorn Slough Ecological Reserve through the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mission Bay (San Diego)</span> Bay in California, United States

Mission Bay is a human-made saltwater bay located south of the Pacific Beach community of San Diego, California created from approximately 2,000 acres (810 ha) of historical wetland, marsh, and saltwater bay habitat. The bay is part of the recreational Mission Bay Park, the largest man-made aquatic park in the United States, consisting of 4,235 acres (17.14 km2), approximately 46% land and 54% water. The combined area makes Mission Bay Park the ninth largest municipally-owned park in the United States.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Upper Newport Bay</span> Coastal wetland in Newport Beach, Southern California

The Upper Newport Bay is a large coastal wetland in Newport Beach, Southern California and a major stopover for birds on the Pacific Flyway. Dozens of species, including endangered ones, can be observed here. Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve and Ecological Reserve represent approximately 1,000 acres (4 km2) of open space. The Upper Newport Bay was purchased by the state in 1975 for its Fish and Wildlife Department's Ecological Reserve System. In 1985 the upper west bluffs and lands surrounding the bay became part of an Orange County regional park, which offers outdoor activities such as bird-watching, jogging, bicycling, hiking, and kayaking. The Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center, located at 2301 University Drive, is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. An organization known as the Newport Bay Conservancy (NBC) provides volunteers to answer visitors' questions and guide them through the various activities.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">San Diego–Tijuana</span> International transborder agglomeration in Southern California and northwestern Baja California

San Diego–Tijuana is an international transborder agglomeration, straddling the border of the adjacent North American coastal cities of San Diego, California, United States and Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. The 2012 population of the region was 4,922,723, making it the largest bi-national conurbation shared between the United States and Mexico, the second-largest shared between the US and another country. In its entirety, the region consists of San Diego County in the United States and the municipalities of Tijuana, Rosarito Beach, and Tecate in Mexico. It is the third most populous region in the California–Baja California region, smaller only than the metropolitan areas of Greater Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Elkhorn Slough</span> Body of water in Monterey County, California

Elkhorn Slough is a 7-mile-long (11 km) tidal slough and estuary on Monterey Bay in Monterey County, California. It is California's second largest estuary and the United States' first estuarine sanctuary. The community of Moss Landing and the Moss Landing Power Plant are located at the mouth of the slough on the bay.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve</span> Nature reserve in America

The San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is one of 27 reserves established as part of the United States National Estuarine Research Reserve System. The reserve is used to promote San Francisco Bay wetlands and estuary research, education, and stewardship.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">San Elijo Lagoon</span> Coastal wetland in San Diego County, California, United States

San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve is one of the largest remaining coastal wetlands in San Diego County, California, United States.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge</span>

Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge is located in the most southwestern corner of the contiguous United States. As a National Wildlife Refuge, it is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It was established in 1980.

The Tijuana River Valley is a rural community in the southern section of San Diego, California. It neighbors Imperial Beach to the north and west, Egger Highlands and Nestor to the north, San Ysidro to the east, and the U.S.-Mexico border to the south. Major thoroughfares include Hollister Street, Monument Road, and Dairy Mart Road.

The San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex is a series of wildlife refuges established by the United States National Wildlife Service beginning in 1972. The complex incorporates five refuges in San Diego County and Orange County in California.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tijuana River Estuary</span>

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, Border Field State Park, and Tijuana River Valley Regional 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 (0.20 ha) 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. In 2022 the U.S. approved the construction of a wall, but announced soon after plans for the construction had been put on hold. In January 2023, it was announced that construction would proceed.

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Goat Canyon (Tijuana River Valley)</span> Canyon in the Mexican state of Baja California and the US state of California

Goat Canyon also known as Cañón de los Laureles, begins in Tijuana, Mexico, and ends in the United States just north of the Mexico–U.S. border. The canyon is formed by Goat Canyon Creek, which receives water and other runoff from areas south of the border. Most of the canyon and its watershed lies within Baja California.

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Smuggler's Gulch</span> Canyon located in the U.S. state of California and the Mexican state of Baja California

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