picture drawn by Hoang Pham

Circa 1500

The Otay Valley in San Diego has a history that goes all the way back 9,000 years. Archeological evidence shows that Stone Age people mined metavolcanic rock found on the sides of the Otay River Valley near Lower Otay Lakes in San Diego. The stone age people probably migrated and used the eastern part of the valley as a stone quarry.

In the year 1500, the area behind Montgomery High School was a pristine riparian habitat. The Otay River probably was filled with fish, amphibians, and water crabs. The marshy areas of the river bottom were filled with sedges, cattails, reeds, and rushes. Willows, cottonwoods, sycamores, poison oak, yerba mansa, black berries, wild rose etc. grew along the river banks. The sides of the mesa were covered with chaparral and coastal sage plants. The mesa top had vernal pools and perennial grass. Possibly an occasional Native American passed or traveled in our study area, but no human lived here. Human impact on the environment and the animals was almost zero.