Volcan Mountain Foundation

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San Diego County, California

Pond on Volcan Mountain; photo by John Raifsnider


The Volcan Mountain Range is a main contributor to quenching San Diego’s thirst!  It is a vital regional resource. In San Diego County water from Volcan Mountain feeds three of the largest watersheds in the San Diego Basin (water that flows west directly into the Pacific Ocean). San Felipe Creek starts high atop Volcan Mountain and drops sharply east to the desert, feeding the Anza-Borrego Watershed and Colorado Basin that flows east to the Salton Sea and into the Gulf of California.

An average of 30+ inches of precipitation a year contribute to the pristine source waters such as Ironside and Catfish Springs that feed the San Luis Rey, San Dieguito, and San Diego River watersheds, flowing 55-60 miles to San Diego's metropolitan communities and coastline and comprising 1,366 square miles out of the total 2,951 square miles of coastal flowing watersheds in San Diego County. 

Hahachepang means "Where the waters come from" and refers to several springs. It's the traditional Native American name for the Volcan Mountain Range. For thousands of years, human and animal communities have known that Volcan Mountain is a source of life and energy.

Protecting headwater areas is the single most effective way of maintaining downstream water quality and hydrologic functions of watersheds. Loss of natural watershed processes in headwater streams can cascade to areas far downstream of the source of the impact itself, so water quality on Volcan is extremely important. Conservation efforts like fuel reduction and management ensure that wildfire severity is kept in check, minimizing erosion and soil contamination in water bodies to protect habitat and water resources downstream.