Monthly Archives

March 2018

Alex at the EarthLab: February

By | Farm

Hello From Groundwork!

Our outdoor climate action center, the EarthLab, is now open on Saturdays  from 9am to noon, so please come see our students and volunteers in action, or lend a hand.  Here is an  update from our EarthLab manager, Alex Garcia, on some of the EarthLab comings and goings.

Hi everyone! Hope you all enjoyed your holidays and hope you all have started 2018 with a bang! A positive bang that is! Yes, I’m aware, it’s already been 3 months since we started 2018. So, without further ado, let me update you a little bit on what has been happening at EarthLab.

One of those tasks was to plant some Sycamore and some Willow trees by the creek. Not sure if you all remember but a few months ago we got some help from the marines during fleet week as well as some help from NASSCO. They helped clean up the creek by removing all the weeds and trash. Now that the creek is all clear we decided to plant some trees! Not much to look at, at the moment, since they aren’t fully grown. But, take a look…..

Well, since we are talking about the creek, let me show you what else I have been up to. About a year ago we started seeing some paw prints appearing on the seed trays that we have over at the native plant propagation center. We also started seeing some of the plants that we have in 1 gal pots tipped over, as well as scat. But, most frustrating of all, our irrigation pipes were torn. All of this was occurring pretty much on a daily basis. The culprit: coyotes! Well, there is an opening by the south end of the creek covered by, what I will refer to as, a grate. The grate had big enough openings for a coyote, even big enough for a human, to squeeze through. So I decided to cover it up with some chicken wire and Wholla! Problem solved! Until, a few weeks back when someone decided to pull it apart. Our coyote friends are very clever…next move is theirs!


Let’s go ahead and change scenery and head over to the propagation center. Something that I haven’t or perhaps briefly mentioned is that we are working on a project called the I.R.W.M project. To keep it brief, my role is to help in the installation of native plants at homes in the Encanto neighborhood. Some of the plants we propagate and some we acquire. Recently, we acquired some soft agave but, we can’t just go and plant them right away. They need to be aired dried until the soft inner tissue calluses over. Check it out….

Well, that’s it for now. See you all next time!

Groundwork Recieves Grant to Upgrade a Portion of Chollas Creek

By | Project Updates, Public Service

Groundwork San Diego has been awarded a grant from the California Department of Water Resources through San Diego County’s Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) program to complete the planning phase for two projects in Chollas Creek.  One project will remove invasive nuisance plants along portions of the creek, and the other will restore the portion of Chollas Creek that runs along Federal Blvd between I-805/Beradini Field  and Home Ave.

The Federal Blvd project will include removing the concrete channel and replacing with a soft bottom, planting native vegetation, and installing a trail along the edge of the creek. This is one of the important trail connections that will one day provide Chollas Creek Watershed residents a pedestrian/bicycle trail from La Mesa to the Bayshore Bikeway!

Concept drawing of future Chollas Creek along Federal Blvd.


Energy and Water Conservation Rebates

By | Community Support


If you are a resident of San Diego, there are all sorts of rebates out there that can help you save money on your bills, and also help you conserve water and energy. Through our EcoVillage program, we offered upgrades like Rainwater Harvesting Barrels, and Laundry-to-landscape systems free of charge for residents within our project area, but you can still access these technologies and much more at discounted prices by taking advantage of the rebates and savings offered by the City of San Diego, SDG&E, SoCal WaterSmart, and the Center for Sustainable Energy.

In these articles we’ll run you through the rebates and discounts you can get, and some information regarding each one.

The first set of rebates we’ll get into are for products that you can install in your home that can cut down on your water usage, saving you some money on your bill and contributing to conserving water in our drought-prone region.


High Efficiency Toilet

It’s safe to say that toilet flushing is a daily operation, and something that is hard to imagine life without. Toilet flushing on average accounts for 30% of total in-home water use, so while we won’t make any arguments for removing toilets altogether to conserve water, it’s worth looking at these newer, more efficient toilets that can make a big difference.  By installing a high efficiency toilet in your home you can save over $800 over the lifetime of the product.

The rebate is for $40 back per toilet. Based on the list of qualifying model you can get a high-efficiency toilet that uses less than 1.1 gallons per flush for around $300.

Click here for this rebate: High Efficiency Toilet


High Efficiency Clothes Washer

Doing laundry amounts to about 15% of the average residential water usage. Cutting down on the amount of water and energy going into your laundry routine can save you $400 over the washer’s lifespan. There are actually two separate rebates that you can use in conjunction to save on your purchase of a high efficiency clothes washer.

The first comes through SoCal Water$mart and will get you $85 rebated on your purchase. That can be found here:  High Efficiency Clothes Washer

The second one is through SDG&E and is a $25 rebate on your purchase. The information for that one can be found here: SDG&E Washer Rebate


Energy Efficient Water Heaters

SDG&E also offers rebates for both Electric and Gas water heaters. To find out which model will be best for you, check out this comprehensive infographic by the Department of Energy. Like the infographic mentions, heating up your water takes up 14-18% of your household energy use, so finding the one that is right for you will be crucial.

Click here for that rebate: Energy Efficieny Water Heaters


Pressure Reducing Valve (PRV)

There are plenty of other points in the home where you can save a lot of water over the course of a year. One source of water waste, and something that could be damaging your plumbing system, is at the point where the water enters your homes pipes. The water pressure coming into your home might be too high, which can cause leaky pipes and those wretched noises that haunt every turn of the knobs. By Installing  Pressure Reducing Valve (PRV) you can lower the pressure, and save an average of 30,000-40,000 gallons of water per year.

Read through the page to learn how to apply: City of San Diego Pressure Reducing Valve (PRV) Rebate


Socal Water$mart Checkup

This one doesn’t count as a rebate, but it’s a great (and free) way to find out other ways to make your home more efficient. You will receive a free evaluation of your water usage by an expert, recommending you ways to save money and water in your home.
Sign up for that here: Socal Water$mart Checkup.

Socal Water$mart also has this great list of tips for conserving water, which can help you begin thinking about ways to upgrade your daily routines, or to bring home some new technologies to contribute to our regional water conservation efforts.



With all these technologies and tips combined, you could be saving hundreds of dollars and tens of thousands of gallons every year. That wraps up the indoor water rebates and conservation resources that we found, and if you happen to know of anything we missed, send an email to and we’ll begin spreading the word.

Stay tuned for next month’s newsletter for more rebate information!