SAN DIEGO – The California Coastal Conservancy has awarded a $460,000 grant to the San Diego Audubon Society to support the Mission Bay feasibility study.
The large-scale project will explore options on how to expand and improve approximately 100 acres of tidal marsh and mudflat habitats and re-establish the historic connection between Rose Creek and the Kendall Frost Marsh Reserve in Mission Bay.
“The state Coastal Conservancy grant places San Diego Audubon in a leadership role in planning for a regionally-significant wetlands restoration project in an area where we have played an active advocacy role for decades,” said Chris Redfern, San Diego Audubon’s executive director.
The grant will support a planning process to include stakeholders, a technical advisory committee, and an environmental consulting firm to design a set of conceptual restoration approaches to begin an environmental review. Partner organizations include the University of California San Diego, the Rose Creek Watershed Alliance, Beautiful PB and Friends of Mission Bay Marshes.
San Diego Audubon leaders have been advocating for restoration of the wetland habit for decades, ensuring the restoration was included in the city of San Diego’s 1994 Mission Bay Park Master Plan and its 2002 update.
“This is an unprecedented opportunity, not only for the city but for the entire region,” said Jim Peugh, San Diego Aubdubon’s conservation committee chair. “Nowhere else in Southern California is there a potential for such a large scale wetland restoration project, especially one immediately adjacent to healthy, existing marsh.”
The feasibility study is the first step of a broader Mission Bay Wetlands Initiative aimed to protect and restore salt marsh habitat in the northeast corner of Mission Bay. In addition to providing critical habitat for wildlife in Mission Bay, expanding the marsh will also increase the wetland’s ecosystem service, including water quality improvement and more educational opportunities.