Southern Border (California): Wikis


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San Diego-Imperial
Map of Southern Border

Common name: Southern Border
Largest city San Diego
Other cities  - Carlsbad
 - San Marcos
 - Chula Vista
 - Oceanside
 - El Centro
Population  Ranked N/A in the U.S.
 - Total 3,165,044 (2008 est.)
Area 9,008 sq. mi.
23,330 km²
State(s)  California
 - Highest point Hot Springs Mountain 6,533 feet (1,991 m)
 - Lowest point Imperial Valley -232 feet (-71 m)

Southern Border, also known as San Diego-Imperial, is defined by the State of California as the region that consists of California's border counties with the country of Mexico, San Diego County and Imperial County.[1] The area encompasses the San Diego metropolitan area and the El Centro metropolitan area. The San Diego metropolitan area has 3,026,135 people while the El Centro metropolitan area has 163,972 people. Southern Border is a part of Southern California but excludes the five other Southern California counties which form Greater Los Angeles. The region is renowned because of its status, defined by the U.S. State of California, as the largest, in terms of diversity, economic region of the state.[2]

The term Southern Border evolved to distinguish the area from the Greater Los Angeles Area. The Southern Border, along with Greater Los Angeles and the Inland Empire are the three main regions of Southern California. Out of these the Southern Border is the largest in terms of economic diversity.

To the west of Southern Border lies the Pacific Ocean and to the east lies the California-Arizona state line. To the south the international border of the United States and Mexico as well as the international state borders of California and Baja California. To the north the border with the counties of Orange and Riverside.



Oceanside Pier at sunset

In its boundaries is a world city, the City of San Diego which is classified as a gamma world city. The city is renowned for its resorts, amusement parks, wildlife parks and zoos as well many museums and beaches. With a population of 1,336,865, San Diego is the second most populous city in California, and the eighth most populous in the United States.

Southern Border also has in its boundaries the San Diego Bay, a natural harbor considered by some one of the best on the North American west coast. The bay is flanked by the San Diego International Airport, the busiest single runway airport in the world and the Port of San Diego, one of the busiest on the American west coast.[3] The U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics ranked the Port of San Diego as one of America's top 30 U.S. container ship ports bringing in nearly 3,300,000 metric tons (3,250,000 LT; 3,640,000 ST) of cargo per year. Together with the National City Marine Terminal, the Port of San Diego is the primary port of entry for Honda, Acura, Isuzu, Volkswagen, Nissan, Mitsubishi Fuso, and Hino Motors into America.

Southern Border is also home to a large home grown surf and skateboard culture hosting many surfing events on its 70 miles of coastline.[4] Just as boarding is popular, off-roading on ATV's in Imperial Valley is another popular sporting event. The Imperial Valley Sand Dune Recreation area draws hundreds of thousands of off-road enthusiasts on good weekends.[5][6]

Many popular museums, such as the San Diego Museum of Art, the San Diego Natural History Museum, the San Diego Museum of Man, and the Museum of Photographic Arts are located in Balboa Park. The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) is located in an ocean front building in La Jolla and has a branch located at the Santa Fe Depot downtown. The Columbia district downtown is home to historic ship exhibits belonging to the San Diego Maritime Museum, headlined by the Star of India, as well as the unrelated San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum featuring the USS Midway aircraft carrier. Tourism has affected the city's culture, as San Diego houses many tourist attractions, such as SeaWorld San Diego, Belmont amusement park, San Diego Zoo, and the nearby San Diego Wild Animal Park and Legoland California.

Panoramic view of La Jolla from the Torrey Pines cliffs

San Diego's Spanish influence can be seen in the many historic sites across the city, such as the Spanish missions and Balboa Park. Cuisine in San Diego is diverse, and includes European-American, Mexican-American, and Asian-American cuisine. Annual events in San Diego include Comic-Con, San Diego/Del Mar Fair, and Street Scene Music Festival.

Hundreds of movies and a dozen TV shows have been filmed in San Diego, a tradition going back as far as 1898.[citation needed]


El Centro Courthouse
Coronado Bridge at Night


South Border is anchored in the west by San Diego and in the east by El Centro.

The coastal city of San Diego is the county seat of San Diego County[7] as well as the economic and cultural center of the San Diego metropolitan area considered congruent with the county. Money Magazine rated it the fifth best place to live in 2006 and according to Forbes the city ranks as the fifth wealthiest in the United States.[8][9] San Diego's biggest industries are manufacturing, military, as well as tourism. The economy of the city is composed largely of many sciences (biotechnology/biosciences & computer sciences) as well as electronics manufacturing, defense-related manufacturing, financial and business services, ship-repair, ship-construction, software development, telecommunications, wireless research, agriculture and tourism. The city is also host to the University of California, San Diego, located in the coastal community of La Jolla. San Diego can also be applauded for being host to one of the largest naval fleets in the world, as well as having become the largest concentration of Naval facilities in the world.

The desert city of El Centro is Southern California's promising new major commercial and industrial center for Imperial Valley, being the center of shipping exports as well as being home to retail, transportation, wholesale, and agricultural industries.[10] The area is also host to two international border crossings nearby for commercial and noncommercial vehicles located on the border with Mexicali, Mexico.[10] The city is 50 feet below sea level and the largest city in the nation below sea level. Plans involving the restoration of the Salton Sea, such as creating a sea-level canal connecting to the Gulf of California, bring hope that the region could serve as an inland port for Southern California which would also serve as a recreational and environmental asset following the course of its length for humans and wildlife in both the United States and Mexico.

Downtown Escondido

Major cities - 100,000+ inhabitants

Population figures for California cities are 2008 State of California estimates[11]

Other cities - 40,000+ inhabitants

City of San Marcos
Night in Carlsbad

Cities with under 40,000 inhabitants

Geographic Regions

Geographic Features

View from La Jolla Cove in San Diego

Southern Border is divided into two regions: San Diego and Imperial. San Diego's coastal side has a Mediterranean climate that gradually turns to semi-arid the farther you move away from the coast however the region is pocketed with many micro-climates. Once you cross the coastal mountains the climate dramatically changes to desert as it falls to the Imperial Valley. The only vegetation in this desert is that of agriculture. However the desert is filled with many hidden oases.



Tourism plays a large part in Southern Border economics. Tourists are drawn to the region for a well rounded experience, everything from shopping to sandboarding. Its numerous tourist destinations include the Imperial Valley Mall, Horton Plaza, Westfield UTC, Seaport Village, Westfield Mission Valley and Fashion Valley Mall for shopping. SeaWorld San Diego and Legoland California as amusement parks. Golf courses such as Torrey Pines Golf Course and Balboa Park Golf Course. Historical places such as the Gaslamp Quarter, Balboa Park, Fort Yuma, Old Town San Diego State Historic Park and Presidio Park. Wildlife refuges, zoos, and aquariums such as the Birch Aquarium at Scripps, San Diego Wild Animal Park, San Diego Zoo, Imperial National Wildlife Refuge, San Diego-La Jolla Underwater Park and Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge. Outdoor destinations include the Algodones Dunes for sandboarding, motocross and off-road racing. Surfing locations include Swami's, Stone Steps Beach, Torrey Pines State Beach, Cardiff State Beach, San Onofre State Beach and the southern portion of Black's Beach.

Southern border is host to the second largest cruise ship industry in California which generates an estimated $2 million annually from purchases of food, fuel, supplies, and maintenance services.[12] In 2008 the Port of San Diego hosted 252 ship calls and more than 800,000 passengers.[13]



  • Balboa Park - Balboa Park is a 1,200 acre (4.9 km²) urban cultural park in San Diego, California, United States named after the Spanish explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa. Many of the trees here were planted by the famous American gardener Kate Sessions. Placed in reserve in 1835, it is one of the oldest sites in the United States dedicated to public recreational usage. Besides open areas and natural vegetation, it contains a variety of cultural attractions including museums, theaters, gardens, shops and restaurants as well as the San Diego Zoo. Balboa Park was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1977. The park is managed and maintained by the City of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department. Many of the park's museums and cultural attractions, include the San Diego Museum of Man, the San Diego Museum of Art, the Museum of Photographic Arts, the San Diego Art Institute the San Diego Model Railroad Museum, the Natural History Museum, the San Diego Historical Society, the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, and the Timken Museum of Art where admission is always free. There are a number of gardens located in the park. These include Alcazar Garden, Botanical Building, Cactus Garden, Casa del Rey Moro Garden, Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden, Japanese Friendship Garden, Marston House Garden, Palm Canyon and Zoro Garden.

Wildlife Parks & Zoos

Orca at SeaWorld
African lions at the Wild Animal Park
  • SeaWorld San Diego - SeaWorld San Diego is a theme park located in San Diego, California. The park is owned by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, a division of The Blackstone Group. SeaWorld's main attraction is its orcas, several of which are housed in 7 million gallon habitats that are each known as Shamu Stadium. Shamu was the name of the first orca brought to SeaWorld San Diego in the 1960s. "Shamu" is now used as a stage name for adult Orcas in performances at SeaWorld parks. The Orcas all have individual names.


San Diego is the headquarters of the U.S. Navy's Eleventh Naval District and is the Navy's principal location for West Coast and Pacific Ocean operations.[15] Naval Base San Diego, California is principal home to the Pacific Fleet (although the headquarters is located in Pearl Harbor). NAS North Island is located on the north side of Coronado, and is home to Headquarters for Naval Air Forces and Naval Air Force Pacific, the bulk of the Pacific Fleet's helicopter squadrons, and part of the West Coast aircraft carrier fleet.

The Naval Special Warfare Center is the primary training center for SEALs, and is also located on Coronado. The area contains five major naval bases and the U.S. Marines base Camp Pendleton. Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton is the major West Coast base of the United States Marine Corps and serves as its prime amphibious training base.[16] It is located on the Southern California coast, bordered by Oceanside to the south, San Clemente to the north, and Fallbrook to the east.

Naval Air Facility El Centro is located in the heart of Southern California’s Imperial Valley. It is a two hour drive from San Diego and Palm Springs and fifteen minutes from the Mexican border. Although small, NAF El Centro has a full array of support facilities: Commissary, Navy Exchange, Medical and Dental Clinics, Consolidated Officer/Chief Petty Officer and Enlisted Club, and a wide variety of recreational activities.


Fields in the Imperial Valley

Although Southern Borders Imperial Valley is a desert, with high temperatures and a low average rainfall of three inches (seventy-five mm) per year, the economy of the area is heavily based on agriculture accounting for 48% of all employment.[17] Due to the accessibility to irrigation water, supplied wholly from the Colorado River via the All-American Canal and fertile soil of the Imperial Valley, a desert has been transformed into thousands of acres of prime farmland. The Imperial Valley is now one of the most productive farming regions in California with an annual crop production of over $1 billion.

A vast system of canals, check dams, and pipelines carry the water all over The Valley. It is this system that forms the Imperial Irrigation District (IID). The water distribution system includes over 1,400 miles (2,300 km) of canal with 1,100 miles (1,800 km) of pipeline. The number of canal and pipeline branches number roughly over a hundred. Due to a long growing season and availability of water from the Colorado River two crop cycles are produced each year. Its agricultural lands are served by a constructed agricultural drain system that conveys surface runoff and subsurface drainage from fields to the Salton Sea, a designated repository for agricultural runoff. The Imperial Valley is a major sourse of Alfalfa as well as grain, cotton, fruits and vegetables that are available during winter months for both American and international markets.

Renewable Energy

Example of a solar power plant

The region of the Imperial Valley has become a "hot spot" of renewable energy projects in both solar and geothermal areas.[18] This is driven partly by California's mandate to have 20% of it's power generated by renewable sources by the end of 2010. The Valley's excellent sun resources, high unemployment and near proximity to large population centers of the coastal regions as well as vast areas of unusable desert all provide reason to drive the projects.[18]

Much of the land suitable for green energy is owned by the Bureau of Land Management. As of April 2008, the BLM has received 163 applications to build renewable energy projects on 1.6 million acres in California, "almost all of them are planned for the Imperial Valley and the desert region north of the valley."[18] Stirling Energy is in the process of creating one of the world's largest solar thermal plants. It will cover 10 square miles with 38,000 "sun catchers" that will power up to 600,000 homes once fully operational which is estimated for year 2015.[18] CalEnergy is currently running a geothermal plant that generates 340 megawatts and is enough to power 300,000 homes that could tap into more for up to 2.5 million homes.[18]


Colleges and Universities

The Southern Border is home to an array of universities and public colleges. Public colleges and universities in the region include Imperial Valley College, SDSU Imperial Valley Extension, San Diego State University (SDSU), University of California, San Diego (UCSD), and the San Diego Community College District (includes San Diego City College), San Diego Mesa College, and San Diego Miramar College. Private colleges and universities include University of San Diego (USD), Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU), Alliant International University (AIU), National University, San Diego Christian College, John Paul the Great Catholic University, Coleman University, University of Redlands School of Business, Design Institute of San Diego (DISD), Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising San Diego, NewSchool of Architecture and Design, Pacific Oaks College San Diego Campus, The Art Institute of California- San Diego, Southern States University (SSU), and Woodbury University School of Architecture's satellite campus. Medical schools included UCSD School of Medicine and ABA accredited law schools included California Western School of Law, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, and University of San Diego School of Law. There is also one unaccredited law school, Western Sierra Law School.

Panorama of Earl Warren College mall, showing from left to right: Geisel Library, Engineering Building Unit (EBU) 1, the Powell-Focht Bioengineering Building, the Computer Science Building, and EBU 2 (visible through trees)

Primary and Secondary

Approximately 58 primary and secondary school districts are found in the SB. These included Brawley Union High School District, Central Union High School District, Grossmont Union High School District, Poway Unified School District, San Diego Unified School District, San Dieguito Union High School District, Sweetwater Union High School District, Vista Unified School District and Westmorland Union Elementary School District.



The Southern Border is served by many newspapers. Most notable is the major newspaper of The San Diego Union-Tribune ranked 25th in the country.[19] The San Diego Union-Tribune serves both San Diego and Imperial. Major local newspapers to the Southern Border included the Imperial Valley Press, serving the Imperial Valley and the North County Times, based in Escondido and serving portions of Riverside County and North County. People of San Diego-Imperial can also receive the Los Angeles Times. Many cities and towns in the SB have their own local newspapers.

Regions of the Southern Border

North County

San Diego - San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos metropolitan area · 3,001,072 (2008 est.)

Imperial - El Centro metropolitan area · 163,972 (2008 est.)


Map of the San Andreas Fault, showing relative rates of motion to the northwest

Each year the Southern California area has about 10,000 earthquakes. Nearly all of them are so small that they are not felt. Only several hundred are greater than magnitude 3.0, and only about 15-20 are greater than magnitude 4.0.[20]

The Great Southern California ShakeOut

The Great Southern California ShakeOut is based on a potential magnitude 7.8 earthquake on the southern San Andreas Fault— approximately 5,000 times larger than the magnitude 5.4 earthquake that shook southern California on July 29, 2008.[21] While the San Andreas Fault has experienced massive earthquakes in 1857 at its central section and in 1906 at its northern segment (the 1906 San Francisco earthquake), the southern section of the fault has not seen a similar rupture in at least 300 years.

If such an earthquake were to occur, it would result in substantial damage to Palm Springs and a number of other cities in San Bernardino, Riverside and Imperial counties in California, and Mexicali municipality in Baja California. Such an event would be felt throughout much of Southern California, including densely populated areas of metropolitan Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego and Tijuana, Baja California.




Airport IATA code ICAO code City
San Diego International Airport SAN KSAN San Diego
Imperial County Airport IPL KIPL Imperial
Calexico International Airport CXL KCXL Calexico
Holtville Airport L04 none Holtville
Montgomery Field MYF KMYF San Diego

Other airports include


Sports teams

Team Sport League Venue
San Diego Padres Baseball Major League Baseball PETCO Park
San Diego Chargers Football National Football League Qualcomm Stadium

See also


  1. ^ "California Economic Strategy Panel Regions" (PDF). California Labor Workforce and Development Agency. October 2006. Retrieved March 1, 2010. 
  2. ^ "El Centro Economics". California Economic Strategy Panel. 
  3. ^ "San Diego International Airport". San Diego International Airport. 
  4. ^ Carlsbad Inn "Carlsbad Inn". Carlsbad Inn. Carlsbad Inn. 
  5. ^ "IVEDC". Imperial Valley Economic Development Corporation. 
  6. ^ "El Centro Chamber of Commerce". El Centro Chamber of Commerce. 
  7. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  8. ^ "Best Places to Live 2006". MONEY Magazine. 2006. Retrieved November 29, 2009. 
  9. ^ Clemence, Sara (October 28, 2005). "Richest Cities In The U.S.". Forbes. Retrieved April 22, 2009. 
  10. ^ a b "City of El Centro". City of El Centro. 
  11. ^ "Population Estimates for Cities, Counties and the State with Annual Percent Change". California Department of Finance. 
  12. ^ Lewis, Connie (September 27, 2004). "Cruise Ships Face Stiffer Anti-Pollution Policies". San Diego Business Journal. Retrieved April 22, 2009. 
  13. ^ San Diego Metro Magazine
  14. ^ "HotelDel". HotelDel. 
  15. ^ "San Diego Economy". 
  16. ^ Estes, Kenneth W. (1999). The Marine Officer's Guide - Sixth Edition. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. p. 176. ISBN 1-55750-567-5. 
  17. ^ "Community - El Centro". El Centro Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved March 14, 2010. 
  18. ^ a b c d e "Calif. Desert Becomes Home For Renewable Energy", Rob Schmitz, Morning Edition, April 3, 2009, NPR
  19. ^ "Top 100 Newspapers in the United States". Audit Bureau of Circulation. Retrieved March 13, 2010. 
  20. ^ "USGS facts". data from Southern California Earthquake Center. Retrieved 2009-03-18. 
  21. ^ "The ShakeOut Earthquake Scenario". data from Southern California Earthquake Center. Retrieved 2009-03-18. 

External links


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