Project Updates

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.


Groundwork & Local Partners Rid an Encanto Neighborhood of Mosquitos & Restore a Piece of Chollas Creek

By | Project Updates


Groundwork San Diego, working with local San Diego partners including City Council President Myrtle Cole, County Supervisor Ron Roberts, and a team of local consultants, has completed the construction phase of a mosquito control project in the Encanto neighborhood.  The project was designed to remove pools that had formed in Chollas Creek just north of the Lenox Drive Bridge due to deteriorated grade control structures. The County of San Diego had identified the site as a high priority treatment area, due to the potential for mosquitos to breed in the pools. The project includes removing the concrete structures, re-grading the creek channel to allow water to flow through, and planting native vegetation along the creek banks.

Photo 1: Upstream of Lenox Drive Bridge on September 26, 2017

The work is being funded by a competitive grant that was awarded to Groundwork San Diego by the County of San Diego Department of Environmental Health under the Vector Habitat Remediation Program, part of the County’s Vector Control Program.  The San Diego County Vector Control Program is a countywide effort that monitors vectors and the diseases they carry. A “vector” is an animal or insect that can transmit a human disease. The Vector Control Program works to protect public health by surveying for diseases carried by vectors, responding to public requests for vector inspections, and educating the public about mosquitoes and other vectors.

Photo 2: Upstream of Lenox Drive bridge on November 29, 2017 after construction.

It Takes a Village

By | Project Updates


Our Commercial Outreach Team Member, Robert Carr, shares with us the goal of bringing commercial establishments on board with the Net Zero Energy plan for the EcoVillage. Interspersed among the words are photos of our neighbors

To borrow from the proverb that “it takes a village…”, in this case it literally will take everyone in our Chollas Creek Ecovillage to create a Net Zero Energy (ZNE) community.  This will require residents and commercial businesses alike to create and adopt a lasting culture of climate action needed implement our goals.  Groundwork San Diego has already started engaging community residents helping them implement sustainable energy and water strategies.  Now the time has come to engage our commercial businesses, so that they can participate in our Ecovillage.

Commercial businesses within the Chollas Creek Ecovillage are important stakeholders due to the fact that they use approximately 41% of the electricity delivered to our area.  Without significant participation from these commercial businesses, our ZNE goal will be not be possible.  To that end, we at Groundwork have launched a campaign to educate and collaborate with commercial entities to promote implementing energy efficiency upgrades, driving electric vehicles, and switching to renewable energy sources.

Solar Canopies for commercial businesses create shade and generate clean renewable energy

To make our ZNE community a reality, a key step is to make sure our commercial building stock is as energy efficient as possible and being powered by renewable energy sources.  Many of these buildings were built years ago, and as a result are not as energy efficient as they can be.  Working with our partners, we hope to show Chollas Creek businesses ways to retrofit their buildings without impacting their bottom line.  Actually, our goal is to energize their bottom line since being energy efficient and using renewable energy will save these businesses money.   Imagine an Ecovillage where the free rooftop spaces of our supermarkets, doctor offices, and industrial buildings are covered with solar panels, providing clean renewable energy to energy efficient buildings and fleets of electric vehicles.

Stormwater capture bioswales are easily integrated into solar canopy designs

Thankfully there are many local and State incentives that can assist with the financial demands of these critical retrofits.  Groundwork’s commercial outreach includes educating commercial businesses what these financial incentives are and how they can take advantage of them.  We will be there every step of the way assisting our commercial stakeholders through this process.  However, we are not limiting our outreach to just energy. Storm water capture, potable water use and conservation will also be an integral piece of our message.  It is critical that the water-energy nexus be understood if our community is truly to become an Ecovillage.  There is lots of work to be done, but we are confident our village is up to the task.

Neighbors Joining Neighbors: Walking Tour, October 21st

By | Project Updates


What a wonderful time we had when Neighbors joined Neighbors at the home of Stacy Sibownhewang for a presentation on the Chollas Eco Village Home Makeover Project.  All neighbors in attendance signed up to receive a home makeover, received a t-shirt and enjoyed the refreshments.

About a week before, we had another Waking Tour Celebration around the block. Our Neighbors Joining Neighbors Walking Tour Celebration took us from 752 Escuela Street to 5002 Lakiba Palmer.

We were excited to have Monica Montgomery, Community Leader, join us as we toured the completed homes and met residents along the way.

One of the highlights was seeing the 865 gallon rain barrel installed on Hilltop and Duval.

We were also joined by a resident who wanted to see examples of yards after being transformed with drought tolerate plants, trees and landscapes.  

Residents who had received the home makeover welcomed us into their yard, and shared their enthusiasm about the home and landscape upgrades they have received.

Our celebration walk ended at 5002 Lakiba Palmer – with laughter, some refreshments, and community fellowship.

Photographs were taken (and generously donated) by the owner of the 865 rain barrel, Mr. Charles Gay (pictured above).


Chollas Creek to Bayshore Bikeway Moves Forward!

By | Project Updates


The City Council approved funding to complete the final and a significant portion of construction drawings for the proposed 4,000-foot-long (approximately 0.75-mile) extension of the Chollas Creek multi-use path. This segment is the missing link that will connect the existing Chollas Creek bikepath to the Bayshore Bikeway as well as the MTS Trolley Stop.

The bike and pedestrian path would be situated along Chollas Creek and developed within public street rights-of-way.  The path would be 10 to 14 feet wide and would be developed as Class I (separate facility) and Cycle Track (separate facility) bicycle facilities, with the a Class III facility along a short stretch of Rigel Street.  Crossing signals would be installed at various locations to stop traffic and allow bicyclists and pedestrian to cross safely.  The project is the first in a series of trails aimed at connecting all Chollas Creek neighborhoods to San Diego Bay.

Lenox Drive Vector Habitat Remediation Project

By | Project Updates

Groundwork San Diego-Chollas Creek has been awarded a competitive grant by the County of San Diego Department of Environmental Health (DEH) under the Vector Habitat Remediation Program (VHRP) to construct the Lenox Drive Vector Habitat Remediation Project. Under the VHRP program, grant funding is

“…offered to landowners and managers, including public sector entities, to physically alter chronic mosquito breeding sites in ways that will reduce mosquito breeding habitats and improve the effectiveness of mosquito breeding control measures.  The Program provides a strong focus on designing, modifying and maintaining wetlands and stormwater facilities to function in a way that will reduce or eliminate mosquito breeding habitat while balancing water quality, biological, aesthetic and hydrological values.” [1]

The VHRP Grant will fund Phase II construction of the Lenox Drive project to remedy mosquito breeding pools in Chollas Creek. Stagnant water has formed as a result of deteriorated grade control structures immediately north of the Lenox Drive Bridge (see photo).


Due to the proximity of human activities (residential and recreational/hiking), mosquitos are a problem in this area; the County of San Diego Department Environmental Health (DEH) has identified this site as a high priority treatment area (Site 1702). The site is immediately adjacent to a residential community and is a known mosquito breeding habitat. In addition to the residences, hikers would also be affected by mosquito breeding habitat in this section of Chollas Creek.  This important project is a component of Groundwork San Diego’s overall watershed and water quality improvement program, and is part of enriching the experience of the Chollas Creek.


The EarthLab Farm is Up and Running!

By | Project Updates

Under the able leadership of farmer Jacob Brownwoord, the EarthLab farm is in production. Assisted by dedicated Groundwork staffer Alex Garcia, Jacob is turning the farm into a hub of educational and production activity. He has recruited students, volunteers, and advisers, and developed a business plan under which local farm to table restaurants will utilize the crops.  Come see us!


Groundwork San Diego-Chollas Creek  

is seeking volunteers to assist with the

EarthLab Farm and Farm to School Program


Volunteers are needed to support our new farm. If you…

  • love working on the land,
  • want to learn more horticulture/small farm agriculture
  • are committed to helping Groundwork achieve its climate action and food justice goals


this could be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for!

Training will be provided.

Contact Jacob Brownwood or Patrice Baker at 619-543-0430 or


Earthlab Volunteer Duties and Hours

  • Earthlab Propagation Center

-Weeding pots, potting seedlings from trays to 1g pots

  • Earthlab Farm

– Tasks change weekly as season progresses; weeding, planting, harvesting

– Every Tuesday, Friday, Saturday  – 9am-12pm