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San Diego Port Announces Financing for Nine Environmental Projects

A cleaner San Diego Bay, thriving populations of fish and seabirds and restored natural habitats these may all become realities, thanks to a recently approved Port of San Diego Environmental Policy.

San-diegoThe Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners has approved a list of projects to be funded by the newly established environmental fund. The amount approved for the recommended projects was $435,000 with $100,000 in estimated matching funds. These projects will allow the Port to go beyond mitigation and beyond compliance in its efforts to improve the health of San Diego Bay. The projects were presented to the Board of Port Commissioners for approval at the December 5 Board meeting.

The recommended projects were identified and reviewed by the District Environmental Committee, a group consisting of representatives from various resource, regulatory and advocacy groups, and Port tenants. In selecting the projects the Committee looked for those that will create or restore habitat, protect endangered species, conduct research on the Bay, improve air, water and sediment quality in and around the Bay, improve energy conservation, enhance the public enjoyment of the Bay without impacting the environment, increase environmental education, and improve environmental decision making. Projects also must be located within San Diego Bay and its surrounding tidelands or directly benefit the Bay and tidelands.

Andy Yuen, project leader of the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex gave his organization support of the Port Environmental Policy and the nine approved projects. "The vision of the Port to exceed environmental regulatory requirements and restoration of San Diego Bay is exemplary," he said. "These projects benefit a variety of natural resources, including endangered and threatened species and migratory birds of San Diego Bay."

Following is a list of the approved projects:

1.Award five grants to university students to study San Diego Bay, specifically issues regarding air quality, sediment and water quality, habitat restoration and protection, endangered species or focusing on the Bay physical, biological, chemical process and structures. The cost for this project is $50,000 for five $10,000 grants.

2.Installation of fish structures in San Diego Bay to provide a safe habitat for fish in order to increase both recreation and commercial populations. The project will include quarterly monitoring of the reefs for a year to study fish recruitment, biodiversity and abundance. The cost for this project is $30,000.

3.Remove environmental debris from the A-8 anchorage to improve the water quality in Southern San Diego Bay. Debris includes engine blocks, fuel tanks, batteries, generators and/or electronic equipment. This project will cost $50,000.

4.Restoration of the salt marsh at J Street near the South Bay Power Plant in Chula Vista. Restoration includes the removal of shopping carts, tires, and other debris to improve habitat for birds and wildlife and to increase vegetation. The cost of this project is $50,000.

5.Build nesting platforms for raptors, specifically ospreys, in each Port member city around San Diego Bay and install interpretive signs at each platform to educate the public regarding the importance of the species. The cost of this project is $40,000.

6.Install mesh filters on storm drains in the Seaport Village area of San Diego to prevent trash from entering San Diego Bay. The pilot study to improve the water quality will be conducted by Port staff. Research, reports and an evaluation of the debris would be included in the project. The cost of this project is estimated to be $25,000.

7.Conduct a pilot study to determine the best alternative fuel vehicles to replace the Port vehicle fleet. The project would also include training in maintenance of the vehicles. The cost of this project is estimated at $65,000. The price includes the difference between leasing five standard vehicles versus alternative fuel vehicles for five years.

8.Conduct a pilot study on using solar energy for Port buildings including the use of solar energy for the boiler at the Port administration building. This project will reduce air impacts to the San Diego region. The estimated cost for this project is $75,000.

9.Install monitoring and data collection devices to track the endangered Eastern Pacific Green Sea Turtle in San Diego Bay. The estimated cost of this project is $50,000.

The Port will begin implementing several of the projects in January. Applications for the college grants will be issued in January, as well as a request for proposals for the alternative fuel vehicles.

Valere Tjolle


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