Blips on the radar

Coronado hires Merkel and Associates to help with permitting for Glorietta Bay Marina 

What Happened: The Coronado City Council unanimously authorized the City Manager to enter into an agreement with Merkel and Associates to assist the San Diego suburb with the permitting process for the Glorietta Bay Marina Dock C replacement project. Council members authorized the agreement as part of its July 21 consent calendar.

Coronado will be spending nearly $4 million to replace Dock C at the city’s largest marina. Merkel and Associates previously contracted with the city in 2001 to provide biological consulting services at Glorietta Bay and as an environmental consultant in 2007 during the marina redevelopment.

What’s On Tap: Merkel and Associates will receive $75,564 from Coronado to assist the city in acquiring federal and state permits for the Dock C replacement project at Glorietta Bay Marina. The permits could ultimately result in Coronado conducting eelgrass surveys.

The firm will work with Coronado to obtain permits from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, California Coastal Commission, California State Lands Commission, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, San Diego Unified Port District and San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Refugio State Beach re-opens

What Happened: Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara officially reopened on July 17, according to news reports, almost two months to the day after it was shut down after an offshore oil pipeline ruptured nearby and released thousands of gallons of crude oil into the ocean and onto the local coastline.

Two of three California sea lions affected by the May 19 oil spill were also released back into the ocean on July 17. The sea lions were treated in San Diego for oil exposure.

The Unified Command, which included pipeline owner Plains All American and several government agencies, reported efforts to clean up after the May 19 Refugio oil spill was 98 percent complete.

What’s On Tap: A few areas of the beach and adjacent park not owned by the state will still remain closed as some cleanup work remains. For more information, visit

Avalon to provide supplemental funding for second desalination plant

What Happened: Avalon’s City Council voted July 7 to provide $500,000 in supplemental funding to help Southern California Edison (SCE) build a second desalination plant at Catalina Island’s Pebbly Beach.

City staff and leaders anticipate offsetting the financial contribution with grant funding. Both Avalon and SCE are seeking grant funding from the state’s Emergency Drought Relief fund and Proposition 1.

SCE stated the new desalination plant would help Avalon maintain adequate water supplies for the remainder of 2015.

“With this new desalination unit, we hope to be able to get through the year until the rainy season without needing deeper rationing,” Ron Hite, SCE district manager for Catalina Island, said in a statement released July 20.

The current desalination plant was installed on the island in the 1990s and can produce up to 200,000 gallons of water per day. Adding a second plant could help add 150,000 gallons of freshwater to the island daily.

About 4,000 people live on the island year-round. However, more than 700,000 people visit Avalon annually, mostly between May and September. During the summer months, daily water demand on the island nearly doubles from about 400,000 gallons to 800,000 gallons, according to SCE.

What’s On Tap: The funding will help SCE build a second desalination plant at Pebbly Beach. The desalination plant will, according to a letter written by City Manager Ben Harvey on June 29, help Avalon avoid enacting strict water rationing measures. Specifically, the city is currently on pace to enact Stage 3 water rationing by October, which would require Avalon’s residents and visitors to reduce water usage by 50 percent of baseline levels.

Fish and Game Commission to hold office hours on Aug. 3

What Happened: California’s Fish and Game Commission announced it will hold special office hours Aug. 3, one day ahead of its next scheduled meeting in Fortuna, California, to answer questions about the agency’s rulemaking process and meeting participation.

What’s On Tap: Members of the public can meet with commission staff from 5 to 6:30 p.m., Aug. 3 and ask questions about meetings and how the agency functions. Attendees can also ask how to become more involved in monthly meetings and the rulemaking process.

Monday’s special office hours will be followed by the commission’s two-day public meeting, Aug. 4-5.

The current agenda is available online: Agenda items include an update on managing marina protected areas (MPAs), possible amendments to sportfishing regulation and whether fisher (formerly Pacific fisher) should be listed as an endangered species.

The office hours and two-day public meeting will be held at River Lodge Conference Center, 1800 Riverwalk Drive in Fortuna.

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