Otay River Estuary Restoration Project

Otay River Estuary and salt ponds aerial - 2002

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is restoring approximately 125 acres of coastal wetlands and uplands on the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge to support a range of coastal dependent species.

The Otay River Estuary Restoration Project (ORERP) will restore approximately 125 acres of coastal wetland and upland habitats at the south end of San Diego Bay within the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge) for the benefit of native fish, migratory birds, and other coastal dependent species.

Restoration will occur at two locations within the Refuge: on approximately 34 acres located east of 13th Street near Imperial Beach within the Otay River Floodplain; and approximately 91 acres of an existing solar salt pond (Pond 15) generally located to the west of the intersection of Bay Boulevard and Palomar Street in Chula Vista.  

The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the ORERP was issued in May 2018. Since that time, we have been working the various permitting agencies, including the California Coastal Commission, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Regional Water Quality Control Board, in preparation for initiating restoration. We have also been working with the San Diego Unified Port District (Port) to develop an alternative access route to Pond 15 that would improve access for trucks transporting excavated material from the Otay River Floodplain restoration site to the Pond 15 restoration site. In association with the proposal for a new access route, we are also proposing to develop a second construction staging area on the Port property, located at 990 Bay Boulevard in Chula Vista. These actions will require approvals from the Port. The potential effects of the proposed actions on the environment have been addressed in an Environmental Action Statement (EAS), dated September 2, 2020, which supplements previous analysis in the FEIS for the ORERP.  



The ORERP FEIS, which includes a description of the no action alternative and two action alternatives (the intertidal alternative and the subtidal alternative) and addresses the potential effects on the environment of implementing these alternatives, was made available for public comment in May 2018. On October 19, 2018, the Regional Director of the Pacific Southwest Region signed a Record of Decision (ROD) for the ORERP FEIS, which identifies Alternative B (Intertidal Alternative) for implementation.  A Notice of Availability (NOA) informing the public of the availability of the ROD was published in the Federal Register on October 31, 2018.

This webpage will be updated periodically to provide project schedule information and notes of interest about the restoration process. 
For more information about the project, contact:
Brian Collins, Refuge Manager, at 619‐575‐2704 ex. 302 
Email: Brian_Collins@fws.gov