Organizers stage camp-out near Tijuana River - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Organizers stage camp-out near Tijuana River

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Nearly 100 people camped out overnight to protest Mexican government plans to channelize a creek that flows from East County into the Tijuana River and eventually feeds the ocean marshes near Imperial Beach.

Members of the Environmental Health Coalition and community organizations on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border camped out in an open space area near Arroyo Alamar in Tijuana, an area they said was threatened by a government channelization plan.

According to the environmental group, Mexican government agencies were managing the channelizing project to control flood waters, but similar projects had lead to more flooding because they eliminate the natural floodplain.

"It's inspiring to learn about the connections between environmental justice, water quality and preservation of natural areas like Arroyo Alamar," said Vanessa Hernandez, a 17-year-old member of youth environmental group Jovenes Pro Justicia Ambiental. "We all see benefits in saving the Alamar for everyone to enjoy."

EHC officials said the Arroyo Alamar remained one of the last undeveloped portions of the Tijuana River watershed basin and was a fundamental part of the history of its adjacent communities. Members of environmental organizations were working to lobby government officials to reduce the channelizing plan's impacts to the natural area, officials said.

"We're working to promote environmental justice to ensure everyone is represented in government projects that impact health and well being of local residents," said Ana Langarica of Colectivo Chilpancingo Pro Justicia Ambiental, an EHC affiliate.

The creek originates near Campo, flows into the Tecate River in Baja California and its name changes to the Arroyo Alamar once it enters Tijuana. It flows into the polluted Tijuana River and then into the Pacific Ocean near Imperial Beach.

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