What We Do

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What We Do

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Protecting and preserving our urban estuary

TRNERR is one of 30 Reserves in the U.S., yet is unique in the national system due to its location. It is an urban estuary, and one of the largest and last intact in southern California. To protect this resource and support the coastal communities that surround it, our work is grounded in partnership and collaboration, and guided by approaches such as science-to-management, climate resilience, transcending borders, and diversity, inclusion, and access. We animate these approaches through (and across) our core programs: Research, Education, Stewardship, and Coastal Training. For more information, see our management plan.

Connect people in conserving natural ecosystems in Southern California and Northern Baja California through access, research, stewardship, restoration, education, and science-based decision-making.

Healthy coasts, estuaries, and watersheds where human and natural communities flourish.

Yellow-crowned night-heron perched on a fence rail
Yellow-crowned night-heron by Kevin Hamm

Our approaches


Knowledge produced through collaborative research is actionable, informed by end-users, and used to shape management decisions

Climate resilience

We are at the vanguard of climate science and adaptation practice and consider sea level rise and other climate impacts in our planning scenarios 

Transcending borders

We seek solutions that have co-benefits for nature and people on both sides of the border and emphasize social-ecological connections 

Diversity, inclusion, & access

We are committed to addressing environmental and other injustices and actively work to create a workplace and programs that inspire meaningful engagement

Core programs

Student researcher Nancy Torres washes and separates the samples she's collected into multiple composites in the Tijuana Estuary.

The Tijuana Estuary is an ideal “living laboratory.” With a focus on tracking short-term variability and long-term change of local estuaries through monitoring, the data collected by at the Reserve provides a foundation for a variety of research projects carried out by universities, agencies, and Reserve staff.

A group of students explore the Reserve and are guided by a California State Parks employee

The Reserve provides exciting, hands-on education programs for students; curriculum trainings for educators; tours, informative lectures and other outreach opportunities for adult audiences; and digital learning resources for all visitors to enjoy.

A view of the Estuary with the city of Imperial Beach in the background

The TRNERR Coastal Training Program focuses on spanning boundaries to generate social ecological solutions to pressing challenges in Southern and Baja California. Through our program, we have connected with thousands of coastal decision-makers resulting in capacity building, increased knowledge, and measurable impact within our community.

A boy and his mother look out over the Tijuana River Estuary in Imperial Beach during November King Tides.

Stewardship at the Tijuana Estuary includes a variety of efforts that strive to conserve biological diversity, protect valued natural and cultural resources, and create opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation and environmental education.

Our goals

  • People are aware of, appreciate, and are inspired to advocate for their natural environments and act as stewards in their communities.
  • Conserve, manage, restore coastal ecosystems and preserve cultural resources in the Tijuana River Valley.
  • Provide public use opportunities that are compatible with conserving our natural resources, and engage visitors in our region’s environment, culture, and history.
  • Reserve research increases understanding of coastal ecosystems, environmental change, and social-ecological systems to support science-based management, education, and decision-making.
  • Communities better understand the effects of climate change, and have the knowledge and tools needed to successfully adapt to local environmental change.
  • Reserve initiatives emphasize the socio-ecological connections across our international border and exemplify binational environmental leadership.
  • Reserve’s work is effectively communicated to inspire diverse audiences and build strong partnerships.
  • The Reserve is a just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive workplace and program  provider.