What is an Environment Ministry?
It’s odd for a church to say that they have a ministry concerned with protecting the natural world, but God commands us to take care of his creation. For Morning Star, this means that we work to preserve the natural gift that is Los Coches Creek.
Los Coches Creek
Morning Star sits in a beautiful location in Lakeside. As you drive up to the church, you may not be aware that Morning Star is positioned above historic Los Coches Creek. This is a natural, spring fed waterway – a rare occurrence in dry San Diego County.
Los Coches Creek has a long history. The Kumeyaay used this part of the creek to gather and grind acorns. Acorns from the native California Oaks were a staple of the Kumeyaay diet. There is archaeological evidence that Los Coches Creek was a popular spot as it was a year-round water source with many oak trees. On the south side of the creek there are boulders that contain milling holes showing many years of use for grinding acorns.
When the Lakeside Inn was built in 1887, a 150 foot long dam was built across the creek so a consistent water supply would be available to the Inn’s guests. The dam site was also a popular picnic spot for guests of the Inn. This dam is still in existence on private land near the church. With enough rain, it becomes a waterfall.
Los Coches Creek has a long history of dangerous and costly flooding. For this reason, most of the waterway through central Lakeside is confined to a concrete Flood Control channel. We are lucky that Morning Star’s section of the creek sits above the flood control channel, so we have access to the natural creek.
Visit the Lakeside Historical Society for more information about the history of our area.
Preserving the Creek and It’s History
Morning Star preserves the creek in two ways. First, we work with the Lakeside River Park Conservancy to restore the creek bed by removing non-native species. As a biodiversity hotspot, San Diego County is home to a diverse and unique collections of plants, animals and insect life. Restoring Los Coches Creek helps to preserve our native species by giving them a home. We removed most of the invasive bamboo-like plant called arundo donax from the creek bed. Removing this invasive plant gives native plants the opportunity to thrive and attracts our local wildlife and insects.
Second, we restrict access to the creek and dam. All the fencing around the parking lot and no trespassing signs do serve a purpose. By restricting access, we limit the impact on this rare and unique environment. This will allow the native California Oak trees and delicate riparian plants to flourish and be available for future generations.