february 27, 2004


Del Mar Foundation to receive Lagoon Endowment Fund

By Jim Kerr

San Dieguito Lagoon

At their monthly meeting on February 20, the San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority voted to give the Del Mar Foundation an endowment of $500,000 to invest over the next 30 - 40 years for the purpose of funding future San Dieguito Lagoon maintenance.

The Rivermouth at "Dog Beach, "will eventually be the beginning of a 55-mile coast-to-crest trail stretching all the way to Vulcan Mountain.

To mitigate for damages the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station is doing to area wildlife, Southern California Edison (SCE) is required to restore the San Dieguito Lagoon in the area south of Via de la Valle east to El Camino Real, approximately 440 acres. The $90 million project will involve digging and dredging approximately 2 million cubic yards of sand and silt. The restoration should take about three years. Under an agreement with the Joint Powers Authority, SCE will also be responsible for maintaining the lagoon after its restoration for the length of time the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station is in operation. This is expected to be a 30 - 40 year time frame.

Enter the San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority, a group of representatives from the County and from the cities which make up the river park. The JPA knew it needed to set aside money for future generations to have the funds to keep the lagoon a pristine habitat. As locals have learned over the years, the Rivermouth closes periodically and chokes off tidal flows. So they have earmarked an endowment of $500,000 to grow over the next 30 - 40 years to fund maintenance beyond that time frame. They have now asked the local Del Mar Foundation to be the stewards of this money, and to invest it prudently.

According to Lynn Gaylord, president of the Del Mar Foundation, their challenge was to look into the community and pull out the citizens with the background in investments to help with the task. The community members chosen were: Joe Sullivan, Dick Hertzberg, Laura DeMarco, Charlie Gaylord, and Joel Holliday. They are now officially the Investment Advisory Committee of the Del Mar Foundation.

"With experience investing amounts with many more zeroes than this endowment fund, each and every one of these respected members of Del Mar rose to the occasion and is choosing to give back to their community," says Gaylord. "Over the last several weeks they have diligently worked through an agreement with the JPA and structured an investment policy commensurate with the demands of this charge."

Lynn Gaylord also credits the work of Foundation members Laura DeMarco and Claire McGreal for the work in convincing JPA commission members to unanimously approve the allocation of funds.

"We are deeply honored to be chosen as the stewards for this endowment, she says, "It is a tribute to all those wonderful citizens of Del Mar who worked so tirelessly for so long to protect the lagoon and create this 55-mile Coast to Crest trail.