Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
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SAN DIEGO BAY NWR: Ribbon-cutting celebration draws partners of the Western Salt Pond Restoration Project
California-Nevada Offices , December 8, 2011
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Project partners, elected officials and their representatives all cut the ribbon at the site of one of the breaches to the San Diego Bay.
Project partners, elected officials and their representatives all cut the ribbon at the site of one of the breaches to the San Diego Bay. - Photo Credit: Lisa Cox/USFWS
Shorebirds fluttering across the newly-excavated marsh channel.
Shorebirds fluttering across the newly-excavated marsh channel. - Photo Credit: Copyright Earl S. Cryer Photography

By Lisa Cox, San Diego Bay NWR

Shorebirds called, and new cordgrass swayed in the afternoon ocean breeze. Neighbors rode their bikes along the bordes of the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge, while others stopped to see the flickering flocks of tiny birds, and new bright green algae growing on the marsh mud. 

It was a crisp and sunny day that welcomed attendees for a recent ribbon-cutting event to celebrate completion of the Western Salt Pond restoration on the Refuge. This project was the largest component of an ambitious wetland resoration that included: Emory Cove and the Chula Vista Wildlife Reserve in addition to the Western Salt Pond. Project Leader Andy Yuen, of the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex, provided background and introduced key partners who helped make the project possible: Dan Malcom, Port of San Diego Commissioner; Mary Small, Coastal Conservancy Deputy Executive Officer; Bob Hoffman, NOAA Assistant Regional Administrator for Habitat Conservation; Dr. Cindy Lin, EPA Regional Liaison; Carolyn Leiberman, FWS Coastal Program Grant Coordinator; and Brian Collins, Refuge Manager for San Diego Bay and Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuges. All came to give thanks on an exciting project well done. California State Assemblymember 79th District, Ben Hueso also came to say a few words and see the restoration project results for himself.

Contractors from the restoration project, such as Merkel & Associates, Inc., Everest Consultants, and Chris Nordby (Nordby Biological Consulting) also attended. Board members from the Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association who participated in several other restoration efforts in both South Bay and Tijuana Estuary, including Mayda Winter and Mike McCoy, also took part in the ribbon-cutting.

The construction project took eight months to restore approximately 220 acres of intertidal marsh habitat in Ponds 10, 10A and 11, then three additional months to carry out native planting in Pond 10. However restoration will continue in the years to come, for there are many opportunities for planting and habitat stewardship projects in the future.

This restoration project will reduce potential adverse impacts to migratory birds and their habitats by providing food sources within the new elevations of excavated tidal channels to birds migrating along the pacific flyway each year. It will also provide a healthy and dynamic nursery for fish larvae and invertebrates; an extremely important part of the food chain within the entire San Diego Bay for both its wildlife and people.

Check out our photo gallery at:
Click here for more information on the Western Salt Pond Restoration Project:
http://www.fws.gov/sandiegorefuges/Western Salt Ponds Restoration Project3.html
Contact Info: Lisa Cox, 619.476.9150 ext. 106, lisa_cox@fws.gov
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