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Save the Source Program

Protecting, Restoring and Enjoying the Upper Reaches of the Watershed

image Our Save the Source Program is dedicated to conserving critically important lands in the Upper San Diego River watershed.

This is an amazing and beautiful area which is largely pristine. Much of it is in the Cleveland National Forest but there is also a lot of privately owned lands.

We target acquisition of private lands which are destined for development. We manage these lands as open space areas and also conduct research to better understand the ecological health of this area and to inform our conservation efforts including acquisitions, restoration and advocacy.

The goal of $2000 has been reached for 2022 studies!

Did you know we have American Badgers in the upper reaches of the San Diego River watershed? For several years we have focused land conservation efforts along the South Rim of the Upper San Diego River Gorge. It is a beautiful area which also happens to be a very important ecoystem. Many species including badgers have been documented.


To better understand the role this open space plays in conserving these badgers, the locations of badger dens needs to be mapped. This will give us a sense of their movement through the area and which properties are critical for conservation.

Two anonymous badger lovers have offered to match your gift up to a total of $1000 to raise the $2000 needed for this year's surveys. If we raise more, more work can be done!


Sadly, badgers are a Species of Special Concern in California. By working together we can do something about that here in San Diego County.


The research project will utilize community science by training volunteers to work together, to document badger burrows, badger tracks and other evidence of their presence. Focused mapping efforts will be completed between April and June. Surveying will requiring hiking a few miles including portions off trail.


If you are interested in being part of these field surveys, please send an email to Scott, the team leader, at Scott will contact you and share details.

Badgers have large home ranges of 1000+ acres and can travel more than 6 miles in a day in search of food. That is why large interconnected open spaces are vital!

Thank you for joining with us to conserve Badgers!
Your gift of $20, $40 or what you can is truly appreciated!

Other Donation Options:

  • Call our office at 619-297-7380 and make a gift by credit card over the phone
  • Mail a donation to: SDRPF; 4891 Pacific Highway, Suite 114; San Diego, CA 92110

Save the Source Focus Areas:

  • Southern Tributaries
  • Eagle Peak Preserve Conservation Area
  • Peutz Creek Preserve Conservation Area
  • El Cajon Mountain Conservation Area

  • Volunteer Opportunities - current

    • Trail Team - If you enjoy being outdoors, working hard and being part of a team. This is right for you! We are working on opening specific sections of trail at Eagle Peak Ranch as well as the South Rim unit of Eagle Peak Preserve. Tools and supplies are provided, but you are also welcome to bring your own. We will organize carpools or meet you at the Preserve.

    • Camera Monitoring Team - About once per month the team goes out to one of our remote cameras to download photos as well as resupply power, check camera condition and relocate cameras as needed. No experience is needed.

    • Habitat Restoration - activities are focused on Boulder Creek and Temescal Creek. This is great for individuals as well as small and large groups. You will work closely with either a staff member or a very experienced naturalist.

    • Streambed Assessments - In Spring we perform assessments of select tributaries of the River.

    • General Preserve Care - sign making, equipment maintenance and other activities.


    To get involved, email Natalie, our Senior Program Manager, at

    How you can be part of Save the Source:
    • Explore the backcountry! Click here for more information about places to go.
    • Donate to support land acquisition!
    • Stay informed on issues and opportunities by signing up for the free monthly e-new.
    • Support these efforts that you care about by making the a beneficiary of your IRA, life insurance or other plans. Click here for more information



    Help us keep the River beautiful for the next generation.
    Volunteer now »

    Provided by

    Thank You

    to all who donated
    for Badger Research!

    Rita Myers
    Rob Hutsel
    Cynthia Burrascano
    Norrie Robbins
    Judith Nicolaidis
    Melinda Lee
    Robin Shields
    Jodie Hulden
    Paul Schlitt
    David Phillipich
    Mollie Martinek
    Gary Mitrovich

    Please let us know of any errors or omissions. We will be happy to correct.

    Thank you!