Care for & Restore

Welcome to the Care for & Restore page where you'll find actions we have taken and will take to care for our ecosystems, and restore equity and faith in environmental protection. 

For translation needs on pages throughout this site, you can use the Google Translate widget in the upper right of this page to select different languages.


Note: The videos on this page provide subtitles and closed captions (cc) that are available for translation in multiple languages by clicking the settings icon on the bottom right corner of each video. 

Local Areas of Restoration 

Can we repair the damage to our local ecosystems and biodiversity? Find out how programs within the County of San Diego and our external partners are restoring our earth! 


San Diego County Watershed Protection Program

The County of San Diego Watershed Protection Program (WPP) helps to ensure that our waterways are protected by preventing pollutants from entering the County’s storm drain system. WPP conducts outreach, inspection and complaint investigations for commercial, industrial, and residential properties in the unincorporated portions of the County to reduce pollutants from entering streets and storm drains. With your help, we can keep our waterways clean!


San Diego River Park Foundation 

The San Diego River Park Foundation is dedicated to improving the health of the San Diego River and creating a better quality of life for our community through the creation of a 52 mile river-long park system. The San Diego River’s ecological, cultural and recreational resources must be maintained for future generations through long-term conservation of the land, water, and wildlife. Volunteer or attend a San Diego River Park Foundation clean-up or event by visiting


Global Areas of Restoration

Take a virtual journey around the world to visit areas of ecosystem restoration with AirPano! From the Great Barrier Reef in Australia to the ice sheets of Antarctica, take a 360° view of global sites affected by our changing climate courtesy of AirPano. Visit to see more global landmarks, national parks, and natural wonders. 



Restoring Environmental Protection

Note: The videos on this page provide subtitles and closed captions (cc) that are available for translation in multiple languages by clicking the settings icon on the bottom right corner of each video. 



The County has jurisdiction over the unincorporated areas within the county which are generally east and north of the City of San Diego, noted in dark grey on the map. Unincorporated lands are biologically rich and diverse and are comprised of natural features that include lagoons, foothills, mountain ranges, and deserts. Large federal, state and regional parklands cover much of the eastern portion of the county. 


The County of San Diego is committed to helping communities thrive while protecting the region’s unique and diverse natural resources. One of the County’s sustainability tools is its updated Climate Action Plan (CAP), which contains a series of measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next 30 years.

The overall objective of the CAP Update is to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated from activities within the unincorporated county and GHG emissions generated by County facilities and operational activities throughout the county, including facilities and operations located within incorporated cities (County operations), to meet or exceed GHG reduction goals under State laws. Visit the CAP Dashboard to see our progress toward creating a more sustainable and equitable Earth!

The County of San Diego is undertaking the Organic Materials Ordinance Update project to expand and encourage composting activities in the unincorporated area.

The proposed project will amend the text of the County’s existing zoning ordinance, regulatory code, and potentially other parts of the County’s existing regulations to facilitate handling of organic materials in the unincorporated areas of San Diego county. The proposed project will allow by-right composting, streamline small-scale composting, and expand options for medium- and large-scale operations.

Check out the flyers below to see how the Organic Materials Ordinance Update project will advance County sustainability goals!

Restoring Equity in Our Communities

Note: The videos on this page provide subtitles and closed captions (cc) that are available for translation in multiple languages by clicking the settings icon on the bottom right corner of each video. 

What is Environmental Justice?

“Environmental Justice” is defined as the fair treatment of people of all races, cultures, and incomes with respect to the development, adoption, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies (CA Government Code Section 65040.12).

The County created a standalone Environmental Justice Element to create goals and policies that address the health effects caused by the built environment. This Element will serve as a guide for reducing pollution in Environmental Justice Communities. 

What is being done to address environmental justice in San Diego County?

The County Created an Environmental Justice Section in its General Plan 

Low-income communities and communities of color often bear a disproportionate burden of pollution and associated health risks based on legacy decisions that place industrial or polluting uses next to these communities. Environmental Justice seeks to correct these inequities by reducing the pollution experienced by these communities and ensuring their input is considered in decisions that affect them.


These are the unincorporated communities identified as Environmental Justice Communities under the developing Environmental Justice Element 


San Diego County’s Department of Environmental Health & Quality (DEHQ) has developed the fastest standard water quality test approved by the state. In addition to speeding up the process, DEHQ has expanded its testing locations – doubling the number of testing locations in South County - between Coronado and Tijuana – and increased the testing during the winter, when the risk of sewage-contaminated Tijuana River flows is higher due to rains.

Beach and Bay

Environmental Justice Workgroup

To ensure all voices are acknowledged and heard when decisions are being made, we are establishing an Environmental Justice Workgroup. We’ll cultivate a diversity of perspectives, opinions, and lived experiences through the membership, which will include residents from each district, Tribal leaders, community-based organization representatives, and academics.​ The first area of focus will be air quality, in partnership with the San Diego County Air Pollution Control District through the EPA’s 2023 Environmental Justice Government-to-Government Program. The Workgroup will also explore a range of other topics such as water conservation, affordable housing, and more.

Community StoryMap

The County previously published version 1.0 of a StoryMap, “Environmental and Climate Justice Gateway”

to visually represent environmental health concerns in neighborhoods of the San Diego region by census tract. Indicators include asthma, diesel particulate matter, housing lead risk, low-income households, low food access, lacking park facilities, tree canopy. This visual library of health indicators helps raise awareness and provide information for the public’s use in planning, advocacy, or education. OSEJ is in the early stages of exploring content for the next version of the StoryMap, where we hope to provide weighted composites that demonstrate interrelationships and reinforce community priorities, as well as elevate our communities’ lived experiences. These next-gen overlays will help us take a more comprehensive approach to community partnerships and problem solving.

Reducing Tijuana River Valley Sewage

Tijuana River Valley

In 2023, the County Board of Supervisors Declared a Countywide Local Emergency realted to the sewage crisis involving the TJ River and South County coastal communities and asked the Governor of the State of California to Proclaim a State of Emergency.   Since then the local Congressional delegation, the governor and local cities have called for federal funding to fix the problem and urged immediate federal attention and resources for the environmental and public health crisis.