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How Green Was My Valley

Rancher Dick Tynan is still removing trash from his Imperial Beach property after a flood that occurred five months ago. Mostly it’s just plastic bottles, Styrofoam and car tires—but he’s also found a whole truck, a refrigerator and even a 16-pound bowling ball.

In exchange for this garbage, the Tijuana River took three of his horses—one of them pregnant—drowning them in a brown, watery blend of raw sewage and trash coming in from Tijuana.

Tynan, 68, said this isn’t the first time pollution coming in from Tijuana has caused him grief. Every winter, the river floods the Tijuana River Valley with trash, silt and sewage, clogging up the trails around his ranch so that riders can’t use them for months.

“When you go out and ride, [the trails] are all full of trash—and I mean waist-deep,” he said.

For decades, pollution from across the border has found its way into southern San Diego, stirring up trouble for the environment, the economy and public health. Sensitive salt marsh in the valley is deteriorating, beach-goers at one of the most popular surf spots in the county are getting sick and business owners are losing customers because of beach closures

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