February is Museum Month

February is Museum Month


EVENT DATE: February 1-28, 2018
LOCATION: Participating museums
COST: 50% off admission with pass


Macy’s Museum Month is back for its 29th year this February. San Diegans and tourists are invited to enjoy half-off admission at more than 40 San Diego Museum Council (SDMC) member museums the entire month. 

Whether you are an art aficionado, history buff, or nature lover, the SDMC has a variety of member organizations that are bound to capture your interest. And with these special savings that are only offered once a year, it’s a great time to visit both old favorites and new attractions you have never even heard of. See list of participating organizations.

Aspiring museum-goers can pick up a Free Museum Month pass at any Macy’s in San Diego, Temecula or Imperial Valley-find a store near you-beginning February 1, 2018. Each pass admits up to four people at half price. Each pass also features an exclusive coupon for up to 20% savings at Macy’s. Promotion ends February 28, 2018. Additional fees may apply for special exhibitions and events at participating museums.

Find out more information at the San Diego Museum Council.

Is fishing allowed south of Seacoast Drive now that the nearshore ocean is a Marine Protected Area (MPA)?

Yes, but only certain species and by using specific methods (see below).  The MPA west of the Reserve and south of Seacoast Drive is called the Tijuana River Mouth State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA).

Tijuana River Mouth SMCA

Effective: January 1, 2012

The SMCA is approximately 1.5 miles wide (west-east, starting at the mean high tide line) and 3miles long (north-south, starting at the south end of Seacoast Drive). View Map.

What am I allowed to fish?
Northern anchovy (Engraulis mordax)
Pacific sardine (Sardinops sagax)
Pacific mackerel (Scomber japonicus)
Jack mackerel (Trachurus symmetricus)

How am I allowed to fish?
Recreational Fishing: by hand-held dip net only.
Commercial Fishing: by round haul net only.

Get a detailed description of the Tijuana River Mouth SMCA boundary and regulations.

CA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Marine Protected Areas Webpage.

Map of all MPAs in effect on the Southern California Coast.

Plant Communities

As much as 70% of the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve is made up of wetland area. This Reserve contains a variety of unique habitats, including dune, salt panne, salt marsh, mudflat, brackish pond, riparian, coastal sage scrub, and vernal pool. Unique characteristics distinguish one habitat from another. Changes in elevation of a few inches, the presence or absence of salt water, or soil type are variables that determine which plants or animals can live in each distinct habitat. Each habitat maintains its own world of inter-dependent life forms.
In an attempt to protect native vegetation and disappearing habitat, Reserve and Refuge staff along with volunteers constantly battle non-native plants while continuing to plant native ones. These native plants provide vital habitat, nesting area and food for native animals, which is desperately needed in Southern California where over 90% of its coastal wetland habitat has been lost to development.

Many people are unaware that plants can be on the endangered species list too. The Tijuana Estuary is home for one endangered plant called the Salt Marsh Bird’s Beak (Cordylanthus maritimus ssp. maritimus). It is an annual that grows in the upper marsh of the Tijuana Estuary, one of only 10 locations where the Salt Marsh Bird’s Beak is found. Salt Marsh Bird’s Beak (below) is a hemiparasite, it uses Shoregrass (Distichlis littoralis) and Salt Grass (Distichlis spicata) as a host plant.

Plants of the Reserve can be divided into sections according to habitat:

  • Salt Marsh
  • Coastal Sage Scrub (upland)
  • Martime Succulent Scrub
  • Dunes
  • Riparian

The plants are listed by their common name, in English and Spanish, and their scientific name.

More Information

Endangered Species Listing Program or to view the Federal Register of endangered species visit: http://www.fws.gov/endangered/

Non-Native Plants

Learn More:

Budget Woes

Clay Phillips, Reserve Manager

I’m in my 16th month serving in a dual capacity as both “Reserve Manager” and “Acting District Superintendent, San Diego Coast District” for California State Parks.  I truly apologize for my reduced involvement at TRNERR and any delays or problems my absenteeism has caused.  It is simply a reflection of the short-term fiscal condition and related uncertainties that currently envelope California State Parks (see next paragraph).  You may be wondering why I haven’t selected an “Acting” Reserve Manager.  In consultation with all the TRNERR Program Managers, I decided that the best approach would be to allow the Program Managers to continue to fully attend to their business, without any one of them distracted by having to also serve as Reserve Manager. At the last quarterly Advisory Council meeting it was apparent that each program is moving along very well, with many accomplishments and many key issues being addressed.

California State Parks is closing 70 parks throughout the state; the majority are located north of Los Angeles.  However, the remaining parks are not unscathed by the state’s budget woes.  In order to remain within reduced allocations this past year, districts throughout the state have had to keep positions vacant and reduce services to an unprecedented degree.  (The vacancy rate in San Diego Coast District is 27%.)  The coming fiscal year (starting July 1) will be even worse, with a further reduction in our allocation estimated between 3% to 5%.

As you know, there have been serious problems in finalizing the federal budget.  As a result, we have still not received the green light to submit the annual grant application for the Reserve’s Operation funding (approximately $560,000).  That submission usually occurs in April, so we’re especially late this year.  In addition, we expect to receive level funding this coming year.  While it could be worse, level funding is like a decrease because our costs have continued to rise.

As a result of funding shortfalls on both the state and federal side, we need to consider various cost-saving measures.  Please be patient as we explore the range of options; I hope to have more information to share soon.

– Clay Phillips, TRNERR Reserve Manager,
Acting District Superintendent San Diego Coast District, California State Parks

Vehicle Access to Border Field State Park – CLOSED

Click here for Reserve COVID-19 updates, including Border Field.

Photo of Yogurt Canyon showing flooded road which leads to massive potholes on Monument Road.

Yogurt Canyon – Flooding leads to massive potholes on Monument Road.

EFFECTIVE (January 15, 2022): Border Field State Park is temporarily closed to all access due to flooding from recent storm activity. Vehicles, pedestrians, and equestrians are not permitted. Some roads and trails may be flooded with sewage contaminated water and mud.

Please note:

  • There is no access to Friendship Circle from Border Field State Park. Friendship Circle is operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Thank you for your interest in the Tijuana Estuary and Border Field State Park. Please keep an eye on our social media for updates: Facebook I Twitter I Instagram.

Statewide, California State Parks continues to work with locals on a phased and regionally-driven approach to increase access to state park units where compliance with state and local public health ordinances can be achieved. Even though the department has increased access across the State Park System, the need for Californians to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the outdoors remains critical.

For information on statewide current closures and available services, please visit State Parks COVID-19 Resource Center. We look forward to seeing you in the park again soon.


World Migratory Bird Day

Birding on the Bay!
Saturday, March 23, 2019

10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
at the San Diego Bay Refuge

Learn bird watching skills through games, interactive activities, and art while birding along the Otay River. Come check out the new Bikeway Village while you’re there, or continue your walk along the new Bayside Birding & Walking Trail! Free and fun for the whole family!


Follow these links to learn more!

Richard Louv Lecture on May 6 to Launch New Book: The Nature Principle

By Anne S. Fege, Ph.D., Chair, San Diego Children and Nature Collaborative

Richard Louv has written a new book, The Nature Principle, and he’s launching it with a lecture in San Diego Please join us on Friday evening, May 6 at Point Loma Nazarene University—to view exhibits on local nature education opportunities at 6:30 and for Louv’s lecture at 7:30. Tickets are $5 in advance and $10 (cash) at the door. Pre-order The Nature Principle ($25 includes lecture ticket, tax and autograph), or purchase at the event for $24.95 plus tax.

The Nature Principle delivers a powerful call to action for everyone, not just children, to reconnect to the natural world. Our society has developed such an outsized faith in technology that we have yet to fully understand how human capacities are enhanced through the power of nature. Louv cites groundbreaking research and compelling personal stories to tell how nature can boost mental acuity and creativity; promote health and wellness; build smarter and more sustainable businesses, communities, and economies; and ultimately strengthen human bonds. This timely and inspiring book will give readers renewed hope while challenging them to rethink the way we live.

The event is co-sponsored by the San Diego Children and Nature Collaborative and San Diego Audubon Society. The Collaborative was founded in 2009 by individuals and educational, environmental and community groups with shared concerns that today’s children are spending less time learning and playing in nature. The next meeting is Wednesday, May 25, from 4:00 to 6:00 pm at the Girl Scouts of San Diego-Imperial Council office, 1231 Upas St. (corner of Richmond Ave.). Contact Anne Fege, Chair, San Diego Children and Nature Collaborative at fege@sandiegoaudubon.org for more information. No RSVP needed to attend the meeting—just a commitment to increase opportunities for San Diego’s children to learn in nature and play outdoors.

Is Business the Cavalry?

Recently, you may have heard discussion or seen letters-to-the-editor from park concessionaires who advocate for turning more of the State Park System over to commercial enterprises, thereby reducing the number of parks closed during this fiscal crisis. The general public, legislature, and media may warmly embrace such proposals, considering this current political environment in which business is “good” and government is “bad.”

Border Field SP Gate ClosedThere are many elements of this proposal that just don’t survive further scrutiny (not the least of which is the likelihood that concessionaires would only be interested in parks that are already profitable and wouldn’t be subject to closure anyway).  I’d like to focus on the threat that such proposals make to the fundamental purpose of California State Parks.

The mindset that promotes privatization of our State Parks only considers that parks exist to provide attractions for the visiting public.  Yes, we’re here to provide opportunities for active and passive outdoor recreation and for people to visit interesting historic sites.  But our system of parks (and our mission) is about so much more; and it’s that “so much more” that will suffer if it is turned over to entities whose first objective has to be profit.

We indeed provide many of the coolest attractions in the state.  People are willing and able to pay to enjoy those attractions and I’m all for maximizing revenue where we can.  The problem with a business-run State Park System is that so much of what we are also about either can not or should not pay for itself.

  • The habitats we protect and enhance can not pay.
  • The wildlife who find sanctuary can not pay.
  • The school groups we educate should not pay.
  • The cultural heritage of the state that we preserve can not pay.
  • The next generation upon generation of Californians who need intact parks can not pay.
  • The lower income groups who need parks as much as anybody else can not pay.

These are all the parts of our mission that will be compromised under a business-first model.  They are the reason that California State Parks is government agency: in the late 19th century and early 20th century, citizens realized that parks (like primary education and law enforcement) were a benefit to all of society, managed and held in the public trust. 

We are not merely a group of attractions – 

we serve habitat, wildlife, schools, cultural heritage, and future generations!

– Clay Phillips, TRNERR Reserve Manager,
Acting District Superintendent San Diego Coast District, California State Parks

Thank You Think Blue!

Funding from Think Blue San Diego made the TRNERR website redesign possible.

San Diego Plant Atlas

The San Diego Plant Atlas is now even easier to use.  This is a great resource that is underused.  To find every single plant that has been collected in the Reserve, go to the plant atlas website.

  1. Once at the website go to the toolbar on top to Reference.
  2. On the dropdown menu click on Collected in Your Area.  Google Earth will activate and take you to San Diego County with little flowers indicating each grid in the atlas.
  3. Click on the two most southwesterly set of flowers at the bottom left of the map.  You want grid V-10 and W-10.

You can also see every plant that has ever been collected by:

  1. Going to the dropdown menu that says Database Search.
  2. In the dropdown menu click on either search a map polygon or search a map rectangle.
  3. Once you define an area, follow the prompts and a list will be displayed showing every single plant that has ever been collected by anybody in that area.

Voucher specimens collected are now in the museum herbarium at the San Diego Natural History Museum.

Learn More: