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Healthy River, Healthy Communities

Stewardship Program

The Healthy River, Healthy Communities Program is our signature stewardship program. Through an integrated approach we have an ongoing effort to survey 20+ miles of the River. We work in other areas, too.


The surveys inform our cleanup strategy which focuses on collaboration, advocacy and action!

Our goal is a trash-free and clean San Diego River.


We partner with the City of San Diego, City of Santee, other agencies and land owners and managers. Trash is terrible in so many ways.


During this pandemic, we have had to reduce the number of community members involved with this program but that hasn't stopped us! But the trash is piling up. As of
Sept 1, 2020, more than 75,000 lbs of trash was in the riverbed!

Click Here to visit our Current Trash Map


Your financial support of this program can make a big difference.


Become a CLEAN RIVER PARTNER by making a donation of $5 or more today!

$25 provides the heavy duty trash bags to remove up to 2000 lbs. of trash!

$5 provides a pair of gloves for a team member

$500 supports one entire cleanup


Click here to enter $5, $25 or another amount and make a monthly or one-time donation. You can stop a monthly donation at any time.


Join with us for a trash free river. If you are interested in volunteering in the future when we are able to expand our program, please send us an email, so we can fill in the details. Thanks!


Current Focus Area: Incorporated reach of River (cities of Santee and San Diego),

The following components fall under the umbrella of the Healthy River, Healthy Communities program:

  • The Clean and Green Team: Through this team, we coordinate large scale clean-ups each month based on needs identified through RiverBlitz trash data. In addition, family-friendly events are coupled with hands-on, site-specific environmental education. This program is currently on hold due to COVID19 restrictions.

  • RiverBlitz: Each year, we coordinate two volunteer field surveys of the River. Teams of trained volunteers document the River’s condition using surveys. One survey focuses on mapping non-native, invasive plants and the other on trash.

  • River Rescue: Teams of River Rescue volunteers target smaller trash sites that are too small or remote for large scale clean-ups. This team meets twice a week and also has a smaller "strike team."This team is operating under COVID19 restrictions.


  • River Assessment Field Team (RAFT): This team is all about assessment! Along with a staff person, volunteers help scout for trash twice per week, recording the data in an app that we developed. Each assessment covers a different part of the River. In this way, we can document the entire focus area over several weeks.

  • RiverWatch: Volunteer leaders for this team coordinate groups for monthly water quality testing and nutrient monitoring at sample sites along the lower 20 miles of the River to track the effects of clean-up efforts and identify water quality issues.
Program Impact

In 2019, we organized people to make a huge difference!


Nearly 3,000,000 lbs. since the program started.

Help us keep the River beautiful for the next generation.



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