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Restoring The Flood Channel

“The Ditch,” “The Sewer,” “The Homeless Highway”… we’ve heard them all. Within the City of Escondido, the concrete flood channel functions well to carry flood waters but has contributed to higher pollution and excess heat created from water traveling on six miles of concrete, making it inhabitable for some species downstream. Fortunately, on August 8th, specialists in engineering, economics, wildlife biology, and hydrology joined the Conservancy and City of Escondido staff, including the City Manager and Deputy City Manager, in the first steps to re-imagine a more vibrant and natural Escondido Creek within the city, starting in Grape Day Park. The Conservancy was awarded a grant from the Integrated Regional Water Management program to develop a plan (called a 30% design) that would lead to enhancement of the flood channel in Grape Day Park into a beautiful creek walk that would not only benefit our community, but also be an asset to aquatic ecosystems.

This ambitious project will be impossible to execute without the voices and support from the Escondido community. Present at the meeting, in addition to key city planners and managers from the City of Escondido,  were our Conservation Fellows—a group of high school students who live near the flood channel and will be working with the Conservancy throughout the planning process. Their input is instrumental to the success of this project, as their communities will be directly affected by this redesign study. The project’s success also relies on the channel maintaining its current role of controlling flood waters while enhancing the local ecology, surrounding communities, and nearby businesses. Stay tuned as we continue through the 2-year long planning stage and be ready to lend your voice!