News Story Manager

Division leaders tour Tijuana River Valley

Published July 27, 2017
Los Angeles District Commander Col. Kirk Gibbs welcomes USACE Command Week attendees to the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve at the initial stop during a tour of Corps-related projects and national security infrastructure.

Los Angeles District Commander Col. Kirk Gibbs welcomes USACE Command Week attendees to the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve at the initial stop during a tour of Corps-related projects and national security infrastructure.

David Van Dorpe (l), Programs and Project Management Division chief for the Los Angeles District, discusses Tijuana River issues with Steve Smullen (c), area operations manager for the International  Boundary & Water Commission, following a visit to the International Wastewater Treatment Plant.

David Van Dorpe (l), Programs and Project Management Division chief for the Los Angeles District, discusses Tijuana River issues with Steve Smullen (c), area operations manager for the International Boundary & Water Commission, following a visit to the International Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Chris Peregrine (r), California State Parks, describes how sediment flow adversely impacts the environment in Goat Canyon and and Borderfield State Park and stresses the necessity for federal, state and local agency cooperation to address the issues.

Chris Peregrine (r), California State Parks, describes how sediment flow adversely impacts the environment in Goat Canyon and and Borderfield State Park and stresses the necessity for federal, state and local agency cooperation to address the issues.

SAN YSIDRO, Calif. – Los Angeles District kicked off Regional Meetings Week at the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve on July 17, hosting senior leaders from throughout the South Pacific Division on a visit to Corps projects along the nation’s border with Mexico.

South Pacific Division Commander Col. Peter Helmlinger led the group, accompanied by Senior Executive System officials, district commanders and members of the Leadership Development Program Level 3 class. Representatives from the City of San Diego, the International Boundary and Water Commission, and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol also attended, briefing Corps members on their agencies’ responsibilities and their relationships to Corps projects and processes.

In addition to the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve, attendees visited the International Wastewater Treatment Plant, Spooner’s Mesa and Goat Canyon, and the border fence in the San Diego sector.

The tour highlighted the benefits of the partnership among the agencies in their ability to study and address bi-national storm water flows and sediment issues in the Tijuana River Valley. Border Patrol agents participated in the tour and talked about issues related to a portion of current border fence within their San Diego sector.

Significant in the tour were discussions that focused on a complex problem the District is working with the city and the commission. SPD leadership and LDP3 participants were able to recon the watershed and learn from the commission the challenges associated with a project where two-thirds of the watershed is in Mexico and one-third in the U.S. The District views the solution as a possible multi-use feasibility study in the future (ecosystem restoration, flood risk management, and sediment management).

“This will be a long process,” wrote Los Angeles District Commander Col. Kirk Gibbs in a follow-up report, “but it could be a groundbreaking study across the international boundary.”

The Los Angeles District will continue to work with the city and commission to complete the scope of this study area and move toward a possible feasibility study in the future.