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Goat Canyon (Tijuana River Valley)

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Goat Canyon
Canon de los Laureles[1]
A valley, with schrub vegetation, a border barrier and highway in the distance
Looking south-southeast within Goat Canyon
Goat Canyon is located in North America
Goat Canyon
Goat Canyon
Extreme southwest corner of the United States
Area 4.6 sq mi (12 km2)[2]
Geography
Location Tijuana River Watershed[1]
Population centers Playas de Tijuana
Tijuana River Valley, San Diego
Borders on Spooner's Mesa[3]
Bunker Hill[3]
Coordinates 32°32′12″N 117°05′58″W / 32.5367°N 117.0994°W / 32.5367; -117.0994Coordinates: 32°32′12″N 117°05′58″W / 32.5367°N 117.0994°W / 32.5367; -117.0994
Traversed by Mexico-United States barrier[4]
Mexican Federal Highway 1D[5]

Goat Canyon (Spanish, el cañón de Los Laureles)[6] also known as Canon de los Laureles, is a canyon which begins in Tijuana and ends just north of the Mexico–United States border. The canyon is formed by Goat Canyon Creek,[7] which receives water and other runoff from areas south of the border.[1] The majority of the canyon and its watershed lies within Baja California.[8]

The canyon originated during the Quaternary period;[9] it is bordered by Bunker Hill to its west and Spooner's Mesa to its east.[3] The canyon is partially marshland and supports numerous sensitive and endangered species.[10][11]

Human activity in, and around, the canyon dates back to the prehistoric era.[12] The canyon was part of the route used by the Portolá expedition to San Diego Bay;[13] it was then part of the Missionary Road, which was abandoned in the late 19th century.[14]

Farms existed in and around Goat Canyon until government activity controlled the canyon.[15] South of the Tijuana-Ensenada scenic highway development began in the late 20th century;[5] due to this and into the 21st century, sewage has flowed northward.[16]

Geography

Rocks which form the canyon walls are relatively young, being no older than 10,000 years; they were formed in the Quaternary period.[9] The west wall of the canyon is about 5,000 m (16,000 ft) from the ocean.[17] The east wall of the canyon is made up of a slope that leads to Spooner's Mesa;[18] the mesa was named after a couple who had a homestead atop the mesa.[19]

Flora and fauna

Numerous sensitive[Notes 1] and endangered are found in Goat Canyon, including shrubs of the Southern willow, mule fat, Maritime succulent scrub varieties, and wildlife including least Bell's vireos, Belding's Savannah sparrow, and California gnatcatcher.[9] Within the northern portion of Goat Canyon is an environment categorized as southern coastal salt marsh, which supports some of these species.[10]

History

The earliest human activity identified in the canyon was a prehistoric campsite with a shell midden.[22][23] In the area surrounding the canyon, evidence had been found of human activity relating to the San Dieguito and La Jollan prehistoric cultures.[15][24] Within the canyon there is a San Dieguito era quarry.[25] In 1769, the Portolá expedition's overland group, with which Junípero Serra was travelling, came through Goat Canyon on their way to San Diego Bay.[13] In the 1770s, Spaniards recorded that at the mouth of the canyon there was a Native American village, which they named "Milejo".[15][26][27] In 1775, members of the Kumeyaay people living in the Tijuana River Valley, of which Goat Canyon forms the southwestern portion, attacked the Mission San Diego de Alcalá, which Serra had helped found several years previously.[13] During the attack, Friar Luis Jayme was murdered;[15][28] he is considered to be the first Catholic martyr in Alta California.[29] During the time when the canyon was within Alta California, it was part of Rancho Tía Juana in 1829.[15] By 1833, the canyon was part of Rancho Melijo.[30]

Sometime after the end of the Mexican–American War in 1848 the land from Imperial Beach to Monument Mesa was owned by Elisha Babcock, who went on to develop Coronado.[31] It passed to one of the owners of the Agua Caliente Casino and Hotel, James Crafton around the time of the Great Depression.[31] Prior to 1872, the original El Camino Real alignment ran north from Goat Canyon.[14] In the late 1880s, with the completion of the National City and Otay Railway between San Diego and Tijuana, a city was planned for the area north of the westernmost border monument, but this plan never came to fruition.[26][32]

In the early 20th Century, a homestead was formed consisting of a house and a farm; the homestead was occupied until the 1980s when it was condemned by the city of San Diego.[33] It operated as a dairy farm and was owned by Harley E. Knox, who for a time was mayor of San Diego.[31][34] It remained in the ownership of the Knox Family until at least 1981, but was out of their control due to government control beginning in 1970.[35] While the early 20th Century structures are no longer present, excavation found that the area of the homestead was previously a site of a prehistoric camp.[33] The camp shows evidence that local material had been processed into tools, as indicated by two alluvial deposits;[36] it was recommended in 2001 that this site be placed on the National Register of Historic Places.[37][38]

In addition to the homestead, there was also a pig farm, which was run by a Mexican family in the 1940s.[39] The father of the family died during the construction of a well at the farm.[39] The ruins of the home at the farm still existed in 2001.[39]

United States government activity

United States military activity near Goat Canyon began to the west, with the surveying of a border marker, then moved east to delineate the border established in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ran through the canyon.[40] This included placing a marker atop the hill west of Goat Canyon, boundary monument #257.[41] Beginning in 1909, the Bureau of Animal Industry began to build a fence at the international border, to inhibit the movement of tick-infested cattle which transmitted Texas Fever;[42] the fence was supplemented by patrols on horseback.[43] While there was a temporary United States Army outpost established during the Mexican Revolution (1910–1920), a more significant Navy presence was established with the creation of an airfield in the late 1920s, known as Border Field.[40][44][45] In 1943, on the south side of the base, near the canyon, 35 buildings were built close to Monument Road to support military operations at the airfield, including a trap house.[46]

In 1935, a survey of preexisting defenses led to planning for an expansion of coastal defenses for San Diego Bay.[47] In 1942, during World War II, the United States Army base end stations were constructed on the hill west of the canyon;[47][48] the group of bunkers was named "Mexican Border Fire Control Station."[48][49][50] In 1943, a fire control radar was installed at the Mexican Border Fire Control Station.[47][51] The bunkers assisted targeting for Coastal Artillery batteries at Fort Rosecrans and Fort Emory.[48] In 1951, a plane crashed at the airfield, leading to its end as an aerial gunnery range.[52] In 1953, the United States Army transferred the Mexican Border Fire Control Station to the United States Navy, which placed it under the control of the airfield.[48] The border field airfield was itself under Naval Auxiliary Air Station Imperial Beach.[47]

Monument Road entrance to Border Field State Park, north of the mouth of Goat Canyon

In 1961, Border Field, along with Goat Canyon, was given to the Navy Electronics Laboratory.[44] Other users of the area were the California National Guard who launched pilot-less drones in the decade prior, and the Imperial Beach Police Department who had a shooting range on the land.[53] At the time, a renewed effort to build a city in the area was made; these plans never materialized.[26] By 1971, the United States Navy transferred the site to the State of California, which opened Border Field State Park.[44][48] Sometime between 1981 and 1998, a border road used by the United States Border Patrol was constructed on the eastern wall of the canyon leading up to Spooner's Mesa; the construction destroyed a paleolithic site and adobe ruins.[54] Since 2009, the bunkers atop Bunker Hill are no longer publicly accessible;[49] this is due to the Federal Government reacquiring land for construction of the Mexico–United States barrier.[4]

In late April 2018, some members of the Central American migrant caravan were contacted by American authorities while illegally entering the United States in the canyon.[55] They were prosecuted, while three people from India, who were also contacted by American authorities around that time were processed for asylum.[56]

Canon de los Laureles development and impact

In 1960, construction of Tijuana Ensenada highway occurred just south of the Mexico-United States Border, through the canyon.[5] The construction of the highway and a concrete channel in the canyon on the Mexican side, led to people moving into Canon de los Laureles in an unplanned manner.[5] In 1981, Goat Canyon was not a significant contributor to the 300,000 US gal (1,100 kL) of sewage flowing into the Tijuana River.[57] In 1983, due to sewage spills which originated from Goat Canyon, it was proposed that a pump be installed.[58] Once installed, the pump, which handles flow from Smuggler's Gulch and Goat Canyon, was able to pump as much as 7,000,000 US gal (26,000 kL) a day.[59] In 1990, 110,000 US gal (420 kL) a day of sewage originated from the canyon and flowed into the Tijuana River.[60] By 1998, the canyon had areas of low-income housing, which were prone to damage during [[flash floods] caused by seasonal rains.[8][61] In 2001, a pipeline was located in Goat Canyon, meant to send sewage from the canyon to the International Boundary Wastewater Treatment Plant.[62][63] Treated water from this plant is pumped to a location over 18,000 ft (5,500 m) offshore through a pipe which passes over 100 ft (30 m) below the northern mouth of Goat Canyon.[62]

Sediment Basin located on the floor of Goat Canyon.

A sediment basin was constructed at the mouth of the canyon in 2005, due to significant amounts of material originating from south of the border that ended up in the Tijuana River Estuary, leading to loss of habitat.[64] The yearly cost of emptying the sediment basin is between 250,000 USD and over 1,000,000 USD a year.[65] By 2009, over 65,000 people lived in the Mexican portion of the canyon, part of which is Colonia San Bernardo.[66] By 2014, the population in the Mexican portion of the canyon had grown to 85,000, with the housing described as a "shanty town".[67] Even with the pipeline and later upgrades to the International Boundary Wastewater Treatment Plant, there is sewage in Goat Canyon.[16]

In 2010, with the construction of the Mexico–United States barrier, diverts were installed to assist with the flow of water through the canyon.[68] In 2012, labor-intensive trash nets were used to catch debris, so it would not embed in the sediment.[65] Also in 2012, a $50,000 program was conducted to reduce erosion on the Mexican side of the canyon.[69] By 2014, environmentalists were able to create a recognized watershed council; this gave the area political representation with the aim of increasing the infrastructure within the Mexican portion of the canyon.[67]

In March 2017, black water came through from the Mexican side of the canyon and flowed into the sediment basins; the previous month the water that came through was red.[70] Wastewater from upstream of the canyon was reported by United States Border Patrol agents in May 2017, leading to complaints about health concerns which joined bipartisan concerns by others such as Darrell Issa and Juan Vargas about wastewater from Mexico impacting the Tijuana River.[68] In 2017, funding for border wastewater projects was removed from the U.S. budget.[71] In October 2017, the amount of fecal indicator bacteria was found to be in above average concentrations.[72] In February 2018, more than 50,000 gallons of waste, including sewage, came through the Goat Canyon pump station, spilling into the Tijuana River.[73] In May 2018, the Surfrider Foundation released a report regarding the toxicity of the Tijuana River, and Goat Canyon in particular, with E. coli levels significantly greater than standard levels.[74] In January 2019, the catch basins were called a "success story of sorts".[75]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ In this context, sensitive is defined as those species listed be a federal, state, or local agency for management. In addition special interest groups may also list a species as sensitive.[20] These sensitive species may include former endangered or threatened species.[21]

References

  1. ^ a b c Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association 2001, p. 5-1.
  2. ^ Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association 2001, p. 5-123.
  3. ^ a b c Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association 2001, p. 5-273.
  4. ^ a b Graham, Marty (29 May 2014). "Land-grabbers pay up". San Diego Reader. Archived from the original on 17 April 2018. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association 2001, p. 5-29.
  6. ^ Atlas de la Cuenca Del Río Tijuana (in Spanish). SCERP and IRSC publications. 2005. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-925613-44-8.
  7. ^ Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association 2001, p. 5-2.
  8. ^ a b Suzanne Michel (2003). The U.S.-Mexican Border Environment: Binational Water Management Planning. SCERP and IRSC publications. p. 315. ISBN 978-0-925613-40-0.
  9. ^ a b c Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association 2001, p. 5-13.
  10. ^ a b Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association 2001, p. 5-14.
  11. ^ Ponitius 2003, p. 3-30.
  12. ^ Ponitius 2003, pp. 3-54 - 3-58.
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    Abcarian, Robin (13 March 2018). "If Trump really wants to fix our border problems, he should visit the sewage pools, not his silly walls". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 7 April 2018. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  17. ^ Environmental Impact Statement For The Completion of the 14-Mile Border Infrastructure System San Diego, California. Immigration and Naturalization Service. January 2002. p. 23.
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  19. ^ Barker, Lucy D. (20 February 2013). "More trails for Tijuana River Valley, but none to the mesas". San Diego Reader. Archived from the original on 17 April 2018. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
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  21. ^ Gordon, Robert (16 April 2018). Correcting Falsely “Recovered” and Wrongly Listed Species and Increasing Accountability and Transparency in the Endangered Species Program (PDF) (Report). The Heritage Foundation. p. 4. Retrieved 18 May 2019.
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  23. ^ Norby 2001, p. ixvii.
  24. ^ Ponitius 2003, p. 3-57.
  25. ^ Ponitius 2003, pp. 3-54 - 3-55.
  26. ^ a b c Roper, Tessa; Phillips, Clay; Brubaker, Don; Crooks, Jeff; Tiption, Anne Marie; Goodrich, Kristen; Romo, Oscar; Peregrin, Chris; Abbott, Greg (September 2010). Comprehensive Management Plan (PDF) (Report). Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve. p. 29. Archived (PDF) from the original on 28 April 2017. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
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  31. ^ a b c Schoenherr, Steven (July 2015). "The Tijuana River Valley Historic Sites". South Bay Historical Society Bulletin (9): 1–18. Archived from the original on 3 September 2016. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  32. ^ Zaragoza, Barbara (April 2015). "The San Diego-Tijuana Boundary Monuments". South Bay Historical Society Bulletin. City of Chula Vista (8). Archived from the original on 3 September 2016. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
    Flanigan, Kathleen; Coons, Bruce (2007). "National City & Otay Railroad Depot". Sohosandiego.org. Save Our Heritage Organization. Archived from the original on 17 April 2018. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
    "Railroads of the South Bay". South Bay Historical Society Bulletin (4): 1–4. July 2014. Archived from the original on 3 September 2016. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  33. ^ a b Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association 2001, p. 5-209.
  34. ^ Norby 2001, p. cxix.
  35. ^ MacFarland, James W. (August 1981). Proposed Estuarine Sanctuary Grant Award to the State of California for a Tijuana River National Estuarine Sanctuary (Report). Government Printing Office. Archived from the original on 17 April 2018. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  36. ^ Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association 2001, p. 5-210.
  37. ^ Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association 2001, p. 5-347.
  38. ^ Norby 2001, p. cxcix.
  39. ^ a b c Norby 2001, pp. ixxxiii - xcix.
  40. ^ a b Schoenherr, Steve (18 April 2015). "Border Field State Park". SunnyCV.com. South Bay Historical Society. Archived from the original on 15 June 2016. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  41. ^ "The Military Bunkers Of The Tijuana River Valley". South Bay Compass. Archived from the original on 3 August 2016. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
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    Southwest Contractor and Manufacturer. 1910. p. 6.
  43. ^ Joseph Nevins (10 June 2010). Operation Gatekeeper and Beyond: The War On "Illegals" and the Remaking of the U.S. – Mexico Boundary. Routledge. p. 192. ISBN 978-1-135-15923-8.
  44. ^ a b c Barbara Zaragoza (2014). San Ysidro and The Tijuana River Valley. Arcadia Publishing. p. 81. ISBN 978-1-4671-3188-9.
  45. ^ The Canyoneers (1 June 2016). "No bay at Border Field State Park for about 7000 years". San Diego Reader. Archived from the original on 16 December 2018. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
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  56. ^ Moran, Greg (23 May 2018). "Judge indicates charges against Central Americans said to be caravan members will stand". San Diego Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
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  67. ^ a b McGuirk, Justin (2 July 2014). "Here's What It's Like To Live In Tijuana — The Busiest Land Crossing In The World". Business Insider. United States. The Guardian. Archived from the original on 17 April 2018. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  68. ^ a b Smith, Joshua Emerson (26 May 2017). "Border Patrol agents said Tijuana sewage problem worse now than in previous decades". San Diego Union Tribune. Archived from the original on 17 April 2018. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
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  73. ^ Nunez, Jose; Pruitt, scott (14 May 2018). 60-Day Notice of Intent to Sue for Violations of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act by the United States Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission; CW760862:cclemente (PDF) (Report). San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board. Archived (PDF) from the original on 30 May 2018. Retrieved 6 June 2018 – via Attorney General of the State of California.
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Further reading

  • Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association; Tierra Environmental Services, Inc. (2001). Goat Canyon Enhancement Project: Environmental Impact Statement. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
  • Leffingwell, Randy (2005). California Missions and Presidios: The History & Beauty of the Spanish Missions. Voyageur Press, Inc., Stillwater, MN. ISBN 0-89658-492-5.
  • Norby, Chris; Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association; Tierra Environmental Service, Inc. (21 December 2001). Final Environmental Impact Statement And Environmental Impact Report For The Goat Canyon Enhancement Project. Appendices B (Biological) And C (Cultural). National Oceanographic And Atmospheric Administration.
  • Geraldine Ponitius; Kevin Feenery; Elizabeth Gaffin; Kevin Jackson; Joe Lamphaer; Louis Cross; Mike Hance; Todd Birdsong; Calvin Davis (July 2003). Environmental Impact Statement for the Completion of the 14-Mile Border Infrastructure System (Report). Joe Granata, CW4 Carl Anderson, Todd Smith, Stephen Brooks, Charles McGregor, Patience Patterson, Bobby Shelton, Eric Venwers, Donna Bankston, Chris Ingram, Suna Knaus, Kate Koskie Roussel, John Lindermuth, Josh McEnary, Howard Nass, Sharon Newman, Mike Schulze, Brady Turk, Eric Worsham, Mark Pilwallis, Eric Neal, Kofi Anumah, Chad Karam, Marianne Aydil, Mike Howard, Steve Lacy. United States Department of Homeland Security.
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