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Case Study: Borderfield Restoration Projects

On Thursday, June 2, 2005, Tree of Life delivered a final installment of container plants to Borderfield State Park in San Diego County. The project was a very intriguing and challenging one for Tree of Life, but is even more so for the State of California representatives, consultants, and contractors who are still working on the job. It is difficult to capture the scope of the project involving two countries, several state and federal agencies and of course companies like us—spanning several years of effort to make the Goat Canyon restoration a reality.

Borderfield, as the name implies, is truly on the border – the southwestern tip of the United States is within the State Park. It sits just across the fence from the old bullfighting ring in Tijuana overlooking the ocean. The restoration project was redesigned by Burkhart Environmental Consulting and Rick Engineering with the objective of trapping trash, sediment and other contaminants flowing out of Tijuana through Goat Canyon in the park during heavy rains. The pollution is diverted through settling ponds and filtered through native plantings (hopefully!) before hitting the salt marsh and ocean. The record rainfall during the past two years was a surprise to everyone and caused many complications on the project.

Attempted illegal immigration is a constant in the park, and Homeland Security personnel and the effects of their vehicle traffic are very evident, existing alongside endangered Least Bell’s vireo and California gnatcatcher, and other rare and precious plant and animal communities.

Borderfield is a place where nature collides with politics, pollution, invasive species and economics. Thanks to this restoration, nature has been given a boost in the fight. The wild areas of Borderfield are truly beautiful where a piece of ancient California still survives.

Tree of Life delivered more than 18,000 container plants and 750 pounds of seed to this project. We are proud to contribute to this collaboration of many organizations. Grateful acknowledgement to our contacts on the Borderfield project: Brad Burkhart, of Burkhart Environmental Consulting, Joe Ellis of Marathon Construction, Frank Dominguez of Marina Landscape and John Jorden (4Leaf, Inc.), Trevor Platz, Greg Elliott and Suzy LaHitte of the State of California, and thanks to Jody Miller of S&S Seeds and Ryan West of Recon Native Plant Nursery.