Ensuring the Air Quality of Borrego Springs

Donation Goals

Year 1: $38,242

Year 2: $43,039

Year 3: $40,872

Year 4: $45,842


Total: $167,995 for this four-year project


Although visitors come from around the world to experience the vastness of some of the last remaining undisturbed vistas in the world, there are days when the visibility in Borrego Springs and the Park is limited to a few hundred feet because of dust particles in the air. These “brown-outs” reduce visibility every bit as much as the densest coastal fog, though unlike the water droplets of fog, dust particles represent an ever-increasing respiratory health hazard, particularly in this community with a disproportionate number of seniors and low-income residents. The Borrego Water District, the Borrego Valley Endowment Fund, and the University of California, Irvine request funding to operate and evolve Borrego’s air quality monitoring system over the next four years.


In 2016, the Borrego Valley Endowment Fund provided the seed money to establish a public-private partnership with University of California, Irvine (UCI) and the Borrego Water District to create an Air Quality Monitoring System for the Borrego Valley. Under the direction of internationally recognized scientists at UCI, Borrego Springs has created one of the most sophisticated air quality monitoring systems of any rural community in California. This system has two primary functions:

  1. Continuously collect data that is actionable by the San Diego County Air Pollution Control District, which has jurisdictional responsibility for air quality in Borrego Springs

  2. Identify the specific source(s) of the dust particles that create our brown-out events and impair our famous Dark Sky.