Advocate for Old Mission Dam

Dear Friend of Mission Trails, 

Did you know that the park’s Old Mission Dam is a National Historic Landmark? It earned the distinction in 1963 and is one of only 17 National Historic Landmarks in San Diego County.

Thanks to the advocacy of City Councilmember and Mission Trails Regional Park (MTRP) Task Force Chair Raul Campillo (D-7), crucial funding for the dredging of Old Mission Dam has been requested in the City’s 2023 Fiscal Year Parks and Recreation Department budget. Dredging of the dam should take place every few years to remove excess silt deposits to ensure the structure remains intact. The $750,000 requested by Councilmember Campillo will be used toward this necessary, required maintenance. 

Here’s how you can help secure the funding to preserve and protect Old Mission Dam. Members of the MTRP community can support the proposed funding for the dredging this Thursday, May 5, 2022, at 9AM: 

On Thursday morning, the City of San Diego’s Budget Review Committee will consider the proposed Parks and Recreation Department Budget, and we’re asking you to offer testimony on the importance of Old Mission Dam, either via phone or in person. 

Instructions to join the meeting virtually or in person, and how you can offer testimony are provided through this link. If you would like to attend the meeting in person, staff from the District 7 office can validate your parking. 

If you would like to watch the meeting via City TV after you offer testimony, click here.

Many thanks for your support of this crucially important project at Mission Trails, and for all you do to preserve and protect the park.

This is written by B. Lane MacKenzie, Board President and Jennifer Morrissey, Executive Director
Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation

Say NO to Quail Brush AGAIN – Email CEC by Wed., April 23

Power Plant by Mission Trails – Just Say No!
Cogentrix asks for a second year suspension.
Urgent! Email the CEC by Wed., 4/23/14, to request a suspension denial.

On April 8, 2014, the power plant applicant Cogentrix made it clear they are not withdrawing the power plant siting near Mission Trails. Cogentrix asked the California Energy Commission (CEC) for an additional 12-month suspension for the Quail Brush Power Plant, stating the project “would be feasible.”

The CEC is requesting public comments as soon as possible in order for this input to be considered by the Committee. Please voice your opposition to the suspension, asking instead for the application to be vacated.  NOTE:  Comment deadline is April 23, 2014.

Use the electronic filing comment form at
or Email:
with Subject Line: Quail Brush Power Plant AFC (11-AFC-03) – Deny suspension

Write your own brief letter for the most impact, or copy this sample letter.

Dear Commissioners:

I am a concerned citizen opposed to an additional year suspension for the Quail Brush Generation Project 11-AFC-03 in the East Elliott Planning Area.

Please deny this suspension. Furthermore, I respectfully request that the application be vacated.

A fossil fuel power plant is completely inappropriate for the ecologically sensitive area adjacent to Mission Trails Regional Park and surrounding communities with nearby schools, hospitals, and homes. The project is inconsistent with the City of San Diego’s LORS. It was denied by the City of San Diego Planning Commission, the San Diego City Council, and the City of Santee. There is massive bipartisan public opposition to Quail Brush.

The proposed project is also located within the East Elliott Multi Habitat Planning Area, part of San Diego’s Multi Species Conservation Program (MSCP) open space area. The Mission Trails Regional Park Task Force opposes the siting of the power plant.

The taxpayers of San Diego County object to any further spending of California taxpayer dollars in pursuit of a project that violates so many key local land use provisions.

The cumulative air quality impact to low-lying Santee is not acceptable, no matter what mitigation the power plant offers. The high fire hazard of a gas plant here is too high a price to pay.

Please end the 11-AFC-03 process and focus on truly progressive projects– such as energy storage and rooftop solar–in appropriate places, to generate energy.

Your Name,

Thank you for taking a moment to submit your letter. The CEC Committee will issue a written ruling on the request no later than May 8, 2014. View details and sign up on the CEC Quail Brush listserv at

San Diego Mayor Filner Sends his strongly-worded Letter of Support

San_Diego_City_SealSave Mission Trails is happy to share that Bob Filner, the Mayor of San Diego, sent a strongly worded letter supporting the CPUC, the San Diego City Council decision, and opposing the Quail Brush power plant. Your letters of support are very important too. We need letters addressed to Governor Jerry Brown from our community and beyond to protect our beloved park and quality of life. Please send it by Jan. 20th. Click here to write Gov. Jerry Brown

Below is Mayor Bob Filner’s letter:

December 18, 2012

Commissioner Mark J. Ferron
California Public Utilities Commission
505 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102
Re: Support for Proposed Decision/Alternative Proposed Decision
Application # 11-05-023

Dear Commissioner Ferron:

I strongly support both the Proposed Decision of Administrative Law Judge Hallie Yacknin and the Alternative Proposed Decision of Commissioner Mark J. Ferron in Application 11-05-023 to deny the authority of SDG&E to enter into purchase power tolling agreements with Pio Pico Energy Center and Quail Brush Power. I applaud your commitment to implement the California state loading order in meeting our energy resource needs.

On September 24, 2012, the San Diego City Council voted unanimously to deny the request for initiation of a zoning change to allow the construction of Quail Brush Power in a designated open space area. The proposed location of the facility is part of a critically important open space network and regional biological preserve.

In addition to incompatible land use impacts, I believe better alternatives exist to meet our local energy resource needs – namely energy efficiency, demand response, distributed generation and combined heat and power. Such preferred resources help to I protect human health and the environment, mitigate the impacts of climate change, meet state greenhouse gas reduction goals, and foster an innovation economy. I am committed to making the City of San Diego a leader in reducing our energy demand profile through alternative energy sources.

Construction of new, expensive and polluting fossil-fuel peaker plants detracts from that vision and strategy. There are limited resources available to implement our energy future and decisions to build expensive power plants foregoes opportunities for creating an efficient, clean and prosperous energy future.

For all these reasons, I support the Proposed Decision and the Alternative Proposed Decision and look forward to collaborating on building a new energy paradigm.

Bob Filner

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA 92101 (619) 236-6330

Here is the mayor’s letter in PDF format

URGENT new action to email Governor Brown!

Power Plant from Mission Trails Park
Power Plant from Mission Trails Park

Cogentrix, owner of Quail Brush Power, is desperately trying to reverse the CPUC Proposed Decision. They have delayed the vote five times with their intensive lobbying. Cogentrix knows the upcoming decision would deny them the right to sell power, thus killing investor interest. Without investment money, their power plant is as good as dead, they will lose their footing, and our park and community will thrive.

We need Governor Brown to speak on behalf of the public interest and to relieve the pressure on the CPUC to rewrite their decision.
On the Governor’s Website Form, choose Public Utilities Commission from the drop-down menu, click continue, then click PRO, then write your letter (or copy the one below). Include your name and city.
Click here to Email Governor Jerry Brown

Sample Letter to Governor Brown:

Governor Jerry Brown
State Capital, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814

I am writing in support of the CPUC ALJ’s Proposed Decision for SDGE’s application A1105023.

I agree with San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, who wrote a letter expressing his support of this draft decision, stating he is ready to move San Diego to a new energy paradigm. Considering the obsolete technology proposed by Quail Brush and the hundreds of tons of pollutants it will produce, Mayor Filner is correct that now is the time for real change.

The CPUC and the CEC must support a future without fossil fuel dependency. These agencies are poised, rightly, to deny the unneeded Quail Brush plant. California’s massive commercial and residential energy conservation programs are paying off. Additionally, California should move forward to be a world leader in distributed generation, community-owned microgrids, and NetZero Communities.

The energy industry is lobbying heavily to get the CPUC Proposed Decision reversed, while more than 8,000 Californians have contacted the CPUC with their support. I ask you to protect the public interest by formally supporting the Proposed Decision at the CPUC.

John Q. Public

Click here to Email Governor Jerry Brown

You may mail or contact Governor Jerry Brown at:

Mailing address:
Governor Jerry Brown
c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 445-2841
Fax: (916) 558-3160

Reference Links:
CPUC Proposed Decision

It’s Unanimous! San Diego City Council Members Deny CoGentrix Appeal

Quail Brush is denied!

The San Diego City Council Members sent a strong message to the California Energy Commission (CEC), SDG&E and CoGentrix. They don’t want a power plant next to Mission Trails Regional Park. San Diego City Council

This is a huge victory and the campaign must continue. The CEC could vote to override local decisions and approve the abomination.

Get ready and save the date for the CEC Public Workshop on Wednesday, October 3, at Grossmont College at 2:00 pm.  Click here for details and a parking permit.

Thank you to all the individuals and groups that support and campaign to protect our precious park and communities, including the San Diego City Council, the Santee City Mayor and City Council and all the following:

U.S. Congressman Bob Filner
California Assemblymember Brian Jones
County Supervisor Dianne Jacob
State Senator Marty Block
La Mesa Councilmember Ruth Sterling
Tierrasanta Community Councilmember Rich Thesing
Former San Diego City Councilmember Donna Frye

Candidate for 71st Assembly District, Patrick Hurley
Candidate for Santee Mayor, Rudy Reyes

California Chaparral Institute
California Native Plant Society, San Diego Chapter
California Pilots Association (CalPilots)
Center for Biological Diversity
Cleveland National forest Foundation
Crest/Dehesa/Granite Hills/ Harbison Canyon Subregional Planning Group
East County California Republican Assembly
Endangered Habitats League
Environmental Health Coalition
Greater Santee California Republican Assembly
Green Party of San Diego
Highland Trails HOA
League of Women Voters
Mission View HOA
Mountain Defense League
Preserve Wild Santee
San Diego Audubon Society
San Diego Canyonlands
San Diego Coastkeeper
San Diego Energy District Foundation
San Diego Mountain Biking Association
San Diego River Coalition
Santee School District
Santee Taxpayers Association
Save Our Forests & Ranchlands
Sierra Club
Sunset Greens HOA
and others.

New Design is NOT Helpful. It’s Harmful.

Quail Brush Power Plant next to Mission Trails Park
Quail Brush Power Plant next to Mission Trails Park

CoGentrix made modifications to the Quail Brush Generation Project to “improve” its visual impact. CoGentrix lowered the towers to 70 feet from 100. The images below are realistic and based on the revised power plant design. The renderings include its new placement, graded retaining wall, drainage pits, storage units and a 10-foot security wall. The placement of the power plant sits clearly on the top of a ridge and is not obscured by any other ridge from the Park. The hills will require extensive grading. Click on the images to see them larger. The structures were rendered to scale using Google’s 3D rendering program. The towers’ emissions were rendered in Photoshop.

Lowering the stacks brings the pollution closer to the park, schools, and our lungs. As you can see, the power plant would still be a nasty wound on our park and community. Multiple view points were included so you can clearly understand how huge this abomination is. Click on a power plant image below to see the gallery larger.

Power Plant from Mission Trails Park
Power Plant from Mission Trails Park near the equestrian center

Welcome to the Camping entrance in Mission Trails Park!

Power Plant from Mission Trails Park
Power Plant from Mission Trails Park

Power Plant looking south east

topographic, plan and satellite view
topographic, plan and satellite view

You Can Help Prevent This From Becoming a Reality

Mission Trails

This post includes a gallery of the proposed power plant. The ten photos were taken in Mission Trails Regional Park from multiple points of view. Most of the images show it spewing toxic pollutants from its eleven 100-foot towers – as it would be seen from the park on days of operation.  Not included are graded hills, additional electrical towers and wires, other structures, and roads.

We believe these images are realistic and demonstrate the visual impact the Quail Brush Power Plant will have on our park and communities. The power plant was rendered to scale using Google’s 3D rendering program. The towers’ emissions were rendered in Photoshop.

This gallery clearly demonstrates the land next to the park is the wrong place to build and operate a power plant. I hope these images find you equally disgusted by the impact it has on our park. The images were taken from the following:

  • the Equestrian Staging Area and picnic area
  • the San Diego River and watershed
  • Kumeyaay Lake and riparian area bird sanctuary
  • a park bench
  • Kumeyaay Lake
  • the Kumeyaay Campground entrance
  • park trails
  • Fr. Junipero Serra Trail and the historical dam

On a personal note: I find the name “Quail Brush” offensive. I don’t think a single quail will want to be anywhere near the bulldozed hills, or the noisy, toxic, fire-hazard power plant. I recommend we call it the “Quail Smushed – Burned Brush Power Plant.” This is more fitting.

Click on a gallery image and
Click to see what you can do:

Below is the Helsinki, Helsingin Energia gas power plant. It shows emissions and pollutants being released.
Vuosaari gas power plant

Quail Brush will create toxic gas and spew pollution all over Santee, Tierrasanta, Navajo and other communities within a 15 – 20 mile radius.

This summary of plant emissions equals 43% of actual emissions, equal to 204.84 tons of pollution per year. This data was provided within their project proposal. However, it will be more than doubled if the plant runs at full capacity.