Volunteers Sought for Habitat Restoration Project

Contact: Barbara Moreno (619) 686-6216 - Published on .

Volunteers are invited to help renovate the San Diego Bay habitat of two threatened birds, including the Western Snowy Plover. (Courtesy: Eileen Maher)Volunteers are invited to help renovate the San Diego Bay habitat of two threatened birds.

Habitat restoration will take place Saturday, January 29, from 9 a.m. to noon at the D Street nesting site in Chula Vista. Volunteers should meet at the entrance to Pier 32 Marina, 3201 Marina Way in National City (map).

D Street is part of the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge, Sweetwater Unit, and is located on Port conservation land. It is only open to the public for special events, such as this.

The area is home to the endangered Western Snowy Plover and California Least Tern.

"This is a great opportunity to lend a hand to a threatened shorebird while experiencing a beautiful and little known part of San Diego Bay," said Shannon Dougherty, Conservation Coordinator for the San Diego Audubon Society.

The San Diego Audubon Society, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Port of San Diego have partnered in funding to help these birds flourish in San Diego.

Volunteers will remove invasive ice plants and debris to benefit the endangered birds.

"It is a good team building activity," Dougherty said.

The Western Snowy Plover is a small, sparrow-sized bird that lays its eggs in the sand on the beach.

"There are few places left where the birds won't be disturbed by humans and other animals, so it's important to preserve the sites that we have remaining," Dougherty said.

Volunteer efforts in recent years have spread oyster shell hash along the shoreline where the birds nest their eggs. Organizers say those looking to volunteer should wear old clothes and sturdy shoes for the outdoor work. Please be sure to register with the Audubon Society beforehand. Contact Shannon Dougherty via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 858-273-7800 x101.

More than 200 volunteers have participated in three volunteer events, since 2008.

The Port has provided $25,515 in environmental funds for the project. The Port of San Diego has several programs to help improve the health of San Diego Bay and the tidelands. In 2006, an environmental fund was created to pay for projects that go beyond state and federal regulations. Since then, $7.8 million has been allocated for more than 60 projects, most of which have been completed.

These include enhancing fish habitats in San Diego Bay, restoring the J Street, Emory Cove and Chula Vista Wildlife Reserve salt marshes and constructing osprey nesting platforms throughout the Port tidelands.

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