A large trash boom goes from one side of a dry river bed to the other with lots of trash stuck on one side.

Improving Infrastructure and Capturing Debris in San Diego

The California Department of Parks and Recreation and project partners will install innovative debris interception technology at the Goat Canyon Sediment Basins to better capture marine debris entering Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve from Mexico.

Type of Project: Removal

Region: California

Project Dates: July 2023 - June 2026

Who is involved?
Wiith the support of the NOAA Marine Debris Program with funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the California Department of Parks and Recreation is working alongside the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve to improve existing infrastructure and transboundary debris capture at California’s southern border. 

What is the project and why is it important?
The Goat Canyon Sediment Basins are part of the Tijuana River Watershed. This watershed spans Mexico and the United States and includes a complex drainage system ranging from pine forest-covered mountains in Mexico to the tidal estuary at the mouth of the Tijuana River in the United States. During flooding events, large quantities of trash and debris end up in the estuary and the ocean, often blocking waterways and making flooding worse. 

The California Department of Parks and Recreation works closely with the Tijuana National Research Estuarine Reserve to promote stewardship and address transboundary pollution. The existing trash capture infrastructure in the Goat Canyon Basin is effective at capturing and consolidating large volumes of trash and debris. However, the system can be overwhelmed with repeated storms reducing debris capture efficiency. This holistic interception technology project aims to adapt the current trash boom to a more effective innovative interception system by integrating pontoon floats and repositioning the trash boom across the channel. A monitored mid-season clean-out of the booms will prevent plastic and debris degradation and help the project team to better understand the effectiveness of the interception technology.

This project incorporates a tri-national approach between the United States,  Mexico, and the Kumeyaay (Kumiai) in outreach and education around this project. An informational video is being produced that includes diverse tri-national perspectives of the Kumeyaay, Mexican, and American voices. The video explains the functions of the new and improved trash boom system and describes opportunities for the public to take action in their communities to prevent marine debris from entering waterways in the first place.

Project partners hope that this project will improve debris capture that will support healthy Tijuana River habitats, and encourage overall trash reduction through community engagement.  

For more information about this project, visit the Marine Debris Program Clearinghouse.

Last updated Wed, 10/11/2023 - 05:22 pm EDT