- What is the Borrego Valley Stewardship Council (BVSC)?
The BVSC is a group of organizations—businesses, non-profits, associations, government agencies—that have joined together to create a forum for the discussion of issues of community-wide importance.
- What is the purpose of the BVSC?
The Mission of the BVSC is to bring together as many community groups as possible to be active, informed participants in the major issues facing the Borrego community, so that the Borrego community may celebrate, promote, and protect the unique character, irreplaceable resources, and economic vitality of the Borrego Springs Community and the Anza Borrego Desert State Park for residents, businesses, visitors, and future generations.
- What is the difference between the BVSC and all the other groups in Borrego?
The BVSC is the only umbrella organization in Borrego Springs whose mission is to create the widest possible participation in civic discourse. Other groups in Borrego have more focused missions ranging from specific advocacy areas, to governmental activity, to the provision of goods and services.
- How is the BVSC different from the Borrego Village Association?
The Borrego Village Association’s mission is to support the economic development of the Borrego region by implementing a National-Geographic-inspired Geotourism program. This program aims to create and sustain an attractive, thriving community where residents enjoy a quality lifestyle, prosperous businesses meet community needs, and tourism enhances the character and well-being of the Borrego region.
- When did the BVSC begin?
The BVSC began in 2014 when community volunteers committed to hosting seminars for the community to explore issues of fundamental importance to the Borrego Valley such as water quality and availability, economic development, governance, air quality, etc.
- How has the BVSC evolved since its beginning in 2014?
The BVSC was formed in the summer of 2014 by a broad range of community volunteers in Cooperation with the National Geographic Society’s Geotourism Program and the University of California, Irvine Steele/Burnand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center. Over a six-month period these community volunteers created a Geotourism Charter for the Borrego Valley which was ratified by leading community organizations in a signing ceremony on November 6, 2014 at the Research Center. The original BVSC Charter had a narrow focus—Geotourism—and had an ad hoc leadership structure.
Five years later, in November 2019, the BVSC membership began a formal reevaluation of its mission, leadership structure, membership, and operating guidelines. This reevaluation resulted in the creation of a new Memorandum of Understanding that outlined a broader mission for the BVSC, a formalized leadership structure, and broader membership.
- Does the BVSC have an agenda?
Yes. It is to bring together the full spectrum of voices in our community to be informed, active participants in the issues that impact the future of our Valley.
- Who are the members of the BVSC?
The members of the BVSC are existing “groups” in the Borrego Valley such as non-profits, businesses, government agencies, associations, special district agencies, etc.
- Is the BVSC looking for additional members?
Yes. The BVSC seeks to have the broadest possible representation of Borregans. To achieve this goal, the BVSC seeks to engage any and all organizations in the Valley that are interested in participating in community discourse.
- Who may join the BVSC?
At the current time membership is limited to “organizations,” e.g. non-profits, businesses, associations, government agencies, etc.
- Can individuals join the BVSC?
This issue will be decided by a consensus of the membership of the BVSC.
- Is the BVSC a 501(c)(3)?
No. The BVSC is unincorporated.
- How frequently does the BVSC meet?
The Memorandum of Understanding signed by each Council member requires the Council meet at a minimum annually. The Council may convene more frequently as needed.
- Who are the leaders of the BVSC?
In the first five years of the BVSC’s existence, there was no formal leadership structure. In March 2020 the members of the BVSC chose the BVSC’s first Leadership Team:
Kathy Dice—Borrego Water District, President
Martha Deichler—Borrego Springs Unified School District, Liaison
Dick Troy—Anza-Borrego Foundation, President
Jim Wermers—The Mall, Owner
Valeen Szabo—Borrego Springs Chamber of Commerce, Executive Director. (Ms. Szabo left the Leadership Team when she separated from the Chamber)
David Garmon—Tubb Canyon Desert Conservancy, President (Consultant Emeritus to the Leadership Team)
- Does the Leadership Team run the BVSC, or do members have a say?
The Leadership Team is chosen by the Council to manage the day-to-day affairs of the Council. The Leadership Team is chosen annually by the Council.
- Is the Leadership Team semi-permanent, or will there be regular elections? If there are elections, when and how will they take place?
The Memorandum of Understanding signed by each member of the Council provides for an annual election of members of the Leadership Team. The next election will occur in March 2021.
- How are the activities of the BVSC paid for?
To date the activities of the BVSC have been paid for by voluntary contributions of its membership.
- Can the BVSC continue to operate on a very limited budget with only volunteer help?
Since its inception the Council has operated as a volunteer organization. As of late 2020 the Council is seeking funding from state and regional funders to support its activities.
- The BVSC is seeking grant money to hire an executive director. What will be the role of the Executive Director?
If the BVSC is successful in obtaining funding to support its activities, including hiring an Executive Director, the Executive Director would take over many of the duties that have been performed thus far by volunteers, e.g. communications with an ever expanding membership; coordinating outreach efforts to those groups in Borrego not yet aware of the Council’s activities; “producing” community meetings, which includes providing a secure virtual environment for meetings of the Plenary, arranging/scheduling guest speakers, promoting such meetings in the community, providing follow up to the meetings, posting the meeting agenda, video recording of the meeting, and meeting minutes on the BVSC website; maintaining the BVSC website; and communicating determinations/recommendations of the Plenary to relevant stakeholders.
- Will the BVSC direct the Community Plan Update?
No. Through its activities the BVSC will solicit and generate the broadest possible community input into the Community Plan Update; however, the process will be directed by the County of San Diego and the Borrego Springs Community Sponsor Group.
- How are topics for Council meetings chosen (including Zoom meetings)?
Topics are chosen by the Leadership Team in consultation with members of the Council.
- What are examples of a topics that may be discussed by the Council?
To date the topics discussed at a Plenary forum have been COVID-19 and the upcoming Community Plan Update for Borrego Springs. Future potential topics include: 1) the “friendly lawsuit” initiated by the Borrego Water District as part of the Stipulated Agreement that will set Borrego on the path to water sustainability, 2) the Regional Conveyance System proposed by the San Diego County Water Authority to run through Borrego Springs and the State Park, 3) the composition and functioning of the Borrego Watermaster Board.