Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center


In 1990, SWIA in cooperation with the California State Parks (CSP), the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) constructed the $1.2 million, 6,000-square-foot Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center at the northern end of the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve (TRNERR). The Center, designed by architect Robert Quigley, later won the prestigious “Orchid Award” for design excellence.

SWIA served as project manager for the construction of the Visitor Center.

Board members Harold Wasserman and Patricia McCoy were often seen on site sporting hard hats and shovels. SWIA also served as a funding conduit for the interpretive exhibits within the center that evolved over the next few years.

SWIA also provides $5000 annually to the Tijuana River NERR for educational programs and equipment, volunteer appreciation, training, binational activities and special events. This financial assistance from SWIA is invaluable to Tijuana River NERR operations because it supports program areas that, due to state funding restrictions, could not otherwise be carried

out. In recent years SWIA has extended its partnership with the Tijuana River NERR by hiring the first Research Coordinator and Coastal Training Program Coordinator for the Reserve.

An extensive Tijuana River watershed native plant garden thrives around the visitor center. SWIA assisted with funding for the garden as well as for a brochure with a map indicating the distribution of plant habitats. The native plant garden also won the prestigious “Orchid Award” for natural landscaping.