The Tijuana River Valley spanning the US-Mexico border is frequently swamped with sewage-tainted water, but the cross-border flows also carry trash into an ecologically sensitive region. Meanwhile, restrictions for travel across the US Mexico border have been extended through May 21st. Plus, San Diego City Councilwoman Monica Montgomery Steppe talks police reform following the guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial.
Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Thursday April 22nd.
The Tijuana river valley has a lot of trash.
More on that next but first… let’s do the headlines….
federal regulators are meeting with the county on friday to discuss resuming use of the single-dose jonson and johnson covid-19 vaccines. That’s according to County public health officer dr. Wilma Wooten
“we just don’t know that right now. we will know after friday.”
Use of The J&J vaccine was paused after reported cases of rare blood clotting. Locally the J&J vaccine was being prioritized for use in hard-to-reach populations, like unsheltered residents.
The “Museum Of Us,” -formerly the Museum of Man – reopened in Balboa Park on Wednesday. Museum management say they want to tackle pay equity at the museum. Staff who were furloughed are now being brought back at 20-dollars an hour, with benefits.
Following the guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial…San Diego civil rights leaders are calling on the County Board of Supervisors and San Diego City Council to formally support the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act. County supervisor Nathan Fletcher says the Board will vote on whether to support the bill in May. The federal legislation passed the house in early March.
From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now.
Stay with me for more of the local news you need.
The Tijuana River Valley spans the US-Mexico border and it’s frequently swamped with sewage-tainted water. But those cross-border flows also carry trash into an ecologically sensitive region.
KPBS Environment Reporter Erik Anderson says people on both sides of the border are working to get the trash problem under control.
Chris Peregrine walks down a gentle slope in goat canyon just north of the U-S Mexico border. He points to a thick steel cable that spans the basin that cross border flows frequently fill.
“Yeah we have an anchor on either side. And a heavy duty cable that connects the trash boom and let’s it span across the entire sediment basin.”
The trash boom is fencing that is designed to stop everything that floats. There are tires here and there, but plastic dominates the trash captured here. Single use plastic bottles pile up near the barrier, but that’s not all.
11:21:48 — 11:22:03 “We’re also seeing quite a bit of foam. You can see that there’s a couple of different types of foam here. This is a typical polystyrene. But then also we see a lot of this type of insulation type of foam.”
The trash boom was installed in 2005 to keep sediment and the garbage from fouling the nearby Tijuana River Estuary.
11:26:51 — 11:26:58 “We’re about a half mile away from an area that has saltwater influence of the estuary right now.”
If the sand and trash were allowed to flow unchecked into the estuary, it could completely choke off the ability of the habitat to function.
11:27:32 — 11:27:44 “That mixing, that saltwater coming on a high tide and going out on a low tide and that saltwater mixing with the freshwater of the Tijuana River, is what makes this place so biologically diverse and so special.”
Peregrine says local officials allow the plastics and sediment to accumulate and then they bring in heavy equipment to remove the trash and scrape off a layer of sediment. The battle against the trash is also being waged in a Tijuana community that’s about a mile south of the border.
00:01:05 – 00:01:18 “It’s basically a canyon where people have settled and it goes all the way up and it has three different names. Lollaourelles, a la Cranes and las Flores. Its one tributary.”
Fey Crevoshey of Wild Coast says an international grant has allowed the community there to build a trash boom inside a concrete sediment collector. The idea is to stop the garbage from evening reaching the United States.
00:01:40 — 00:02:00 “Is stopping the sediment and trash that comes floating with the water and also under the water. We don’t stop the water. The water continues to flow down the Tijuana River, but that way all these plastics and waste tires and stuff doesn’t go to the river and from there to the ocean.”
Wildcoast’s Rosario Norzagaray is helping organize the effort in Mexico She trades small food items for plastics in an effort to create an economic incentive to pick up the plastics. And they have to protect themselves if they go into the concrete collector.
(Is the quote below overdubbed in English? Captioned for TV?)
(Spanish) Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Per the rules, per the protocol, the team that arrives to work specifically in the area of the desander (water grit trap) must wear safety equipment.
She’s teaching the community how to manage the trash boom is only part of the equation.
(Spanish) the community – has to raise awareness regarding a change of habits, a change in behaviors, as he says; in how are they currently handling their waste and how it directly creates the contamination problem in the estuary, with all of the waste carried by the flowing water caused by rainfall, which is dragged from the stream to the estuary and, from there, into to the ocean.
Even with these efforts, the estuary on the U-S side of the border remains under assault. Every time it rains trash flows down the Tijuana River Valley, the main channel as Peregrine calls it.
12:37:02 – 12:37:20 “There’s no formal facility here to capture trash. So in goat canyon we can clean the trash out of an area with heavy equipment. But when you come to an area like this that’s currently supporting nest species, right in amongst these trash flows it becomes very challenging to clean-up.”
And while the trash is tough to clean up in the thick riparian habitat. it does not necessarily stay here in the heavy brush near dairy mart road.
12:38:16 – 12:38:26 “Its going to start making its way further downstream. As it makes its way downstream is breaks up in smaller and smaller pieces. And ultimately it’s working its way out into the environment and into the ocean.”
Peregrine hopes that a combination of efforts around the estuary and in Mexico will help reduce the amount of trash that finds its way into the estuary.
And keeping this trash out of this delicate habitat could go a long way toward allowing it to be the natural refuge it is intended to be.
Erik Anderson KPBS News.
And that was KPBS Environment Reporter Erik Anderson.
Restrictions on non-essential crossings at the u.s. mexico border have been extended through may 21. The department of homeland security says it’s to deter the spread of covid-19. The lack of traffic at the border has the businesses there struggling to stay afloat. KPBS’ Alexandra Rangel reports.
It’s been more than a year since non-essential travel restrictions were placed at the U.S. Mexico Border…although U.S. citizens and people with working visas can come and go as they please…tourist visa holders don’t have the same privilege….they also happen to be the demographic that keeps the economy going for the businesses in San Ysidro.
Executive Director of the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce, Jason Wells, says the chamber currently serves about 800 businesses…he says the majority are within a 2 mile radius of the border crossing.
Jason Wells, San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce Executive Director
“You cut off 95% of your customer base, how are you going to survive.”
Wells says the Chamber of Commerce has made efforts to talk to the Biden administration, he recently wrote a letter to the president urging him to re-examine border travel restrictions, but he has yet to receive a response. Alexandra Rangel KPBS News.
And that was KPBS’ Alexandra Rangel
The local ACLU Chapter is making another push to end the use of private immigration detention facilities in San Diego county. KPBS’ Max Rivlin Nadler has more.
Since a high of over 50,000 in 2019, the number of people in immigration detention nationwide has fallen to around 15,000 people….
Lawyers with the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties say that drop proves immigration detention is unnecessary, with no tangible impact on public safety or the functioning of the immigration courts system…..
And that private detention centers like the one operated by CoreCivic in Otay Mesa are only prolonging the practice.
Monika Langarica is an attorney with the ACLU.
The bottom line is that people can be released, can be released due to orders that call for a large number of people released at once, and the system will not fall apart. It will continue to operate as it has. People will continue to show up for immigration court.
In a new issue brief being distributed this week, the group is highlighting allegations of abuse at the detention center, including a massive outbreak of COVID-19 in the facility last year.
Anglers have used the Loveland Reservoir near Alpine for years. But now they’re worried its owner, Sweetwater Authority, is chipping away at the fishing program.
Inewsource reporter Jennifer Bowman has more.
BOWMAN: Loveland Reservoir is a special place for David Thomas.
THOMAS: “My mom used to drop me off when I was a little kid. This is where I learned to fish.” BOWMAN: Now, he and other anglers are sounding the alarm. The fishing program has dwindled because the Sweetwater Authority lowered water levels to serve its South County customers.
Earlier this year, Sweetwater removed over 2 billion gallons of water from the lake … The agency is also considering a consultant’s recommendation to change an emergency storage policy. That could mean draining the lake further.
Fishing at Loveland is allowed under an easement to the shoreline. But just how much shoreline is where the anglers and Sweetwater differ.
Sweetwater says recreation isn’t its top priority. Here’s Engineering Director Ron Mosher.
MOSHER: “Our mission is to provide safe, potable water to nearly 200,000 people in our service area. So that’s our focus and that’s what the focus of staff has been and needs to be.”
BOWMAN: Sweetwater hasn’t taken up the consultant’s recommendation, but the board chairman says it’s under consideration. For KPBS, I’m inewsource reporter Jennifer Bowman.
That was inewsource’s Jennifer Bowman. inewsource is an independently funded, nonprofit partner of KPBS.
Coming up…. Following the guilty verdict in the derek chauvin trial, we have an interview with San Diego City Councilwoman Monica Montgomery Steppe, who has long since fought for social justice and police reform. That’s next just after the break.
Since the death of George Floyd there’s been a deep examination of policing and systemic racism on a national level and in San Diego as well. City of San Diego Councilwoman Monica Montgomery Steppe, is chair of the council’s Committee on Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods. She has been a voice for social justice and helped craft local police reforms. She spoke with KPBS Midday Edition host Jade Hindemon.
That was San Diego City Councilwoman Monica Montgomery Steppe, speaking with KPBS Midday Edition host Jade Hindmon.
That’s it for the podcast today. Be sure to catch KPBS Midday Edition At Noon on KPBS radio, or check out the Midday podcast. You can also watch KPBS Evening Edition at 5 O’clock on KPBS Television, and as always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Annica Colbert. Thanks for listening and have a great day.