About

Who Are We?

The San Diego River Conservancy was established by an act of the California Legislature (AB 2156, Kehoe) to preserve, restore and enhance the San Diego River Area. The Conservancy is a new, independent, non-regulatory agency within the Resources Agency of the State of California. The Conservancy’s 13 member Governing Board consists of both state and local representatives, creating a partnership which reflects the diversity and dedication to conserving this highly valued resource of statewide significance.

What Do We Do?

As an independent government agency our mission, the restoration and conservation of the San Diego River Area, is accomplished by (1) acquiring, managing and conserving land; and (2) protecting or providing recreational opportunities, open space, wildlife species and habitat, wetlands, water quality, natural flood conveyance, historical / cultural resources, and educational opportunities. One important Conservancy goal is to build, in conjunction with our partners, a River-long park and hiking trail stretching fifty-two miles from the River’s headwaters near Julian to the Pacific Ocean.


Why the San Diego River?

The San Diego River area is an historical, archeological and biological treasure of statewide significance. The San Diego River area is the “Birthplace of California” and holds the key to the State’s heritage. With human inhabitants for over 8,000 years, the San Diego River Area boasts no less than twenty-nine State Historic Landmarks, four National Historic Landmarks, three state parks, twenty local and municipal parks and public open spaces, as well as rich cultural resources.

Today, the San Diego River Watershed is home to over one-half million people, including five Native American tribes, and at least twenty-five state and federally listed endangered and threatened plant and animal species.

The San Diego River is also of significant economic value to the state. The San Diego River Conservancy area welcomes more than twenty five million visitors, helping to support an annual tourism industry in San Diego of over five billion dollars.

Governing Board and Staff

Our governing board is comprised of 13 members, 11 voting and 2 non-voting members who are appointed or are designated by virtue of the office they hold: local, state and federal. The Conservancy has no power of condemnation or authority over city zoning laws.

GOVERNING BOARD MEMBERS

Kevin Faulconer, Mayor
Mayor, City of San Diego

Dianne Jacob
Supervisor, Second District, County of San Diego

Scott Sherman
Councilmember, District 7, City of San Diego

Michael Cohen
Director, Department of Finance

John Laird
Secretary, California Natural Resources Agency

Lisa Mangat
Director, Department of Parks and Recreation

Benjamin Clay, Chair
Public at Large: Appointed by the Governor

Ann Haddad
Public at Large: Appointed by the Governor

Andrew Poat
Public at Large: Appointed by the Governor

Deanna Spehn
Policy Director to Senator Toni Atkins
39th Senate District

Ruth Hayward
Public at Large: Appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules

John Donnelly (non-voting)
Executive Director, Wildlife Conservation Board

Gary Strawn (non-voting)
San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board

STAFF

Julia Richards
Executive Officer
San Diego River Conservancy
jrichards@sdrc.ca.gov
619-645-3188

Dustin Harrison
Environmental Scientist
San Diego River Conservancy
dharrison@sdrc.ca.gov
619-525-4094

Wendell Taper
Administrative Services Manager
San Diego River Conservancy
wtaper@sdrc.ca.gov
619-645-3183

Deputy Attorney General
Hayley Peterson
Staff Counsel
Hayley.Peterson@doj.ca.gov
619-738-9311