This project acquired 143.5 acres of wetland and upland habitat adjacent to the San Diego River in the El Monte Valley, San Diego County. Acquisition is part of an overall project called the El Monte Valley Nature Park which would restore 1,000 acres. The project is located along the San Diego River. The Pond is on the downstream portion of the overall project. The remainder of the overall project includes the river and adjacent areas upstream of the Hanson El Monte pond. This adjacent property is owned by the Helix Water District. The pond is separated from the river by large levees on the northern and eastern sides. The river is bordered by roads on the north and south sides.
A conservation group working with the Helix Water District plans restoration of the riverbed to reclaim water for the community. Currently the water table is below the riverbed. They want to remove the sand to allow for an open flowing river. There would also be restoration of riparian, sycamore, chaparral, and scrub vegetation for wildlife habitat.
There are currently levees located between the Helix portion of the river and the Hanson El Monte pond. The sponsor and partners would like to breach the northern levee and remove the eastern levee to allow the Pond and surrounding low-lying uplands to act as a detention basin during periods of high flow. The pond was created by sand and gravel mining and is currently 30-50 feet deep. The project proposes to fill approximately 1/3 of the 60-acre pond to create an emergent marsh wetland.