Since the fund was established in 2006, the Board of Port Commissioners has approved 62 projects – 42 of which have been completed – and committed $7.3 million to projects aimed at improving the condition of San Diego Bay and surrounding port tidelands.
“San Diego Bay’s 3,415 acres of land and 3,402 acres of water, falls under the jurisdiction of the Port of San Diego,” said Scott Peters, Chairman of the Board of Port Commissioners. “As an environmental steward of San Diego Bay, Port staff has worked with our 5 member cities of San Diego, National City, Chula Vista, Imperial Beach and Coronado to protect the tidelands and its resources.”
The fund’s goal is to restore or enhance the bay and surrounding tidelands by funding programs that include but are not limited to recovering habitat, restoring the condition of the bay bottom, preventing future erosion or contamination, or reclaiming natural resource conditions.
Among the key projects:
- A8 Anchorage: More than 300 tons of debris removed from San Diego Bay (Watch Video)
- Chula Vista Wildlife Reserve: The restoration of 55 acres of salt marsh wetlands (Watch Video)
- Research Studies: Ongoing studies of sea turtles, eelgrass and water quality
- Education: Providing environmental education to more than 55,000 students
- Green Port: Green construction at Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier (Watch Video)
- Emory Cove Shoreline Enhancement: Removal of invasive species, debris and planting native plants on more than 12 acres
More than $3 million in matching funds have contributed to these projects, including $1.6 million in federal and state grants.
Many of the projects affect how the Port itself does business.
“We’ve invested money in sustainable projects within the Port, such as 16 alternative fuel vehicles, over 100kw of solar panels, energy efficient lighting and replacing grass in our port parks with water-wise landscaping,” Peters said.
Another important goal of the Port’s fund is environmental education. One great example is happening at High Tech High in San Diego.
A recipient of environmental funds, the biotechnology class conducted original biology research related to San Diego Bay – then turned that research into original children’s books.
"We're working on a children's book project. We were all assigned an environmental topic and we want to be able to convey these messages of environmental awareness to kids,” said junior Lilia Galvez.
Galvez and her co-author Chandler Lafee’s story is designed to teach first graders about the importance of San Diego Bay’s watershed – the inland rivers, creeks and streams that feed into San Diego Bay.
"We're teaching the students to do good science and how to pass them on with a broader audience than just scientists,” said Jay Vavra, Ph.D, BioTechnology teacher at High Tech High.
“These are among the 55,000 students since 2006, who have studied San Diego bay, its resources and natural habitat as part of their curriculum,” said Peters. “Educating youth – while communicating with the public – the various issues connected with the bay.”
The Port of San Diego will hold several events to commemorate the successes of the environmental fund during the rest of this year. The dates and times of the events will be published at a later time.