San Diego’s Mission Bay is one of that area’s best places for birds, and the San Diego Audubon Society is looking to make it even better, spearheading a major wetland restoration project in the bay called ReWild Mission Bay. The chapter is halfway through a three-year planning process that will eventually result in the restoration of up to 170 acres of wetlands in the northeast corner of Mission Bay.
The chapter announced the creation of ReWild Mission Bay in August, and launched a dedicated website, rewildmissionbay.org. Through the site, the chapter is soliciting input from community members about the planned restoration.
“The Mission Bay community serves as a fundamental part of the ReWild team,” says Rebecca Schwartz, San Diego Audubon Society’s project manager for ReWild Mission Bay. “This restoration affects a habitat which both humans and wildlife call home. Public input throughout the process ensures we meet our goal of building a healthier Mission Bay for generations to enjoy.”
San Diego Audubon led a large-scale conservation planning effort for Mission Bay from 2011-2012 with the goal of bringing together stakeholders and experts to set conservation goals. In May of 2014, the State Coastal Conservancy awarded a $460,000 grant to the chapter, with an additional $25,000 from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to support the ReWild Mission Bay Restoration Plan.
By May 2017, the ReWild Mission Bay project will yield at least three versions of a community-informed, scientifically defensible wetlands restoration plan for the northeast corner of Mission Bay. Once the City of San Diego approves a plan, next steps include permitting and, ultimately, restoration of the area’s wetlands.
So far, the chapter has held a number of small group meetings, presented to dozens of community groups, and formed two main advisory groups: the Science and Technical Advisory Group, and the Community Representative Group. The chapter has also developed a detailed scope of work for the feasibility study itself and recently brought on a technical consultant to help design restoration alternatives.
“This is an important project for the entire San Diego community, and we welcome input from all corners,” said Schwartz. “Please visit www.rewildmissionbay.org to learn more and get involved.”