Local Native Americans called the Kumeyaay occupied this area for centuries as part of their fishing grounds. As a result, there are many valuable archaeological sites in proximity to this site. This is also the last site the Serra/Portola expedition stopped at before reaching the location where the first Southern Californian mission (San Diego de Alcalá) was to be established.
In the recent past Goat Canyon became a gravel quarry and was later abandoned. Soon after, it was acquired by public agencies to become part of the Tijuana Estuarine Reserve.
Currently there are chronic and extreme problems with sedimentation, erosion, and trash resulting from squatter encampments further upstream in Tijuana. During regular flooding events poorly constructed buildings and their associated debris are washed downstream to the estuary. The encampments also increase erosion in the canyon and are a large source of sewage.
The restoration project was meant to enhance natural habitat and manage the intense sedimentation coming out of the creek into the estuary. To beneficially use debris left over from the Model Marsh project, the slopes of Goat Canyon were stabilized with the sediment and reinforced with geotextiles and jute netting.
Soon after, to further the recovery of the site, seeds from maritime succulents were
dispersed across the Canyon and an irrigation was installed.
-Goat Canyon Enhancement plan completed (2000)
-Sediment from Model Marsh placed on the slopes of the quarry (Fall 2000)
-Slopes planted with maritime succulent shrub (Fall 2000)
-Irrigation system installed for the plants and germinated seed (Spring 2001)