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Protection, Restoration & Enhancement

  • Permitting & Guidance 
  • San Diego Bay Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan
  • Chula Vista Bayfront Natural Resources Management Plan
  • Advisory Groups
a pier over the San Diego Bay

Meeting Environmental Goals

The Environmental Conservation Department works with internal Port staff, as well as tenants, consultants and additional stakeholders to ensure multi-agency permit compliance on a wide range of projects in and around the bay. Environmental Conservation staff regularly coordinate with ACOE and RWQCB staff on various ranging from redevelopment to restoration in order to protect and enhance natural resources that may be impacted. Staff provide guidance on sustainable design efforts throughout a project’s timeline, including preliminary design discussions, construction best management practices, and long-term maintenance and avoidance measures. 

As an environmental steward, the Port actively pursues and oversees restoration efforts within and around the Bay to improve upon and enhance ecosystem health. In December 2008, the Port of San Diego received a $1,000,000 grant from the U.S. EPA for the restoration of Emory Cove and the Chula Vista Wildlife Reserve (CVWR). The District matched the EPA grant with $1,200,000 in funding from the Port’s Environmental Fund. In partnership with the California Coastal Conservancy and the USFWS Refuge Division, the Port received additional grant funding from the USFWS and the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009, of which approximately $300,000 was awarded to the Port. This funding has assisted in the restoration and enhancement of over 280 acres of valuable habitat within San Diego Bay, including native plant restoration at Emory Cove and the creation and enhancement of the Chula Vista Wildlife Reserve. 

Integrated Natural Resource Management Plan (INRMP)

In September of 2000, the Port and the US Navy Southwest Division jointly prepared the Integrated Natural Resource Management Plan (INRMP) for San Diego Bay. This plan is a guide to assist the users of the Bay to make better, more cost-effective decisions about the development, conservation, restoration and management of San Diego Bay. The management plan also catalogues the plant and animal species around the bay and identifies habitat types. The plan was awarded the 2001 Partnership Award by Coastal America and an updated version of the plan is in development.
In 2007, the Port and the U.S. Navy embarked on an update to the INRMP.  The management plan was revised and edited by a technical advisory committed.  The committee consisted of different agencies and non-governmental organizations including the Regional Water Quality Control Board, Fish and Wildlife Services, National Marine Fisheries Service, Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. National Park Service, Fish and Game, Audubon Society, State Lands Commission and California Coastal Commission. 

The INRMP was completed in 2013 and the final document is available for review in the “Reference Documents” link above.  

Chula Vista Bayfront Natural Resources Management Plan (CVBNRMP)

The 500-plus acre Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan project is recognized as one of the last great development opportunities to create a legacy destination for the public on San Diego Bay. The vision for the Chula Vista Bayfront is to sustain habitats and ecosystems that protect and nourish both native resident and migratory fish and wildlife, especially those that are at risk and dependent on the south bay. Once completed, the bayfront will be a destination for visitors as well as local residents and will reflect strong planning and design principles addressing sustainability of resources, economic feasibility and community benefit. The Chula Vista Bayfront Natural Resources Management Plan (CVBNRMP) serves as a critical environmental guidance and implementation document applicable to all development within the future Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan scope. All future development projects within this area will be evaluated relative to furthering the goals, objectives, standards and strategies contained in the CVBNRMP. 

The CVBNRMP was completed in 2016 and the final document is available for review in the “Reference Documents” link above. 

Mitigation Banking

The Port is analyzing the potential development of a wetlands mitigation bank via the restoration of 83.5 acres of a 95-acre vacant former salt pond parcel (Pond 20) located in the southernmost portion of San Diego Bay. The project site historically supported wetland habitats until the salt evaporation and extraction industry began operations in South San Diego Bay in the late 1800s.  While the salt ponds are still in operation in the southern portion of San Diego Bay, Pond 20 has not been utilized as an evaporation pond since the 1960s.

The proposed development of Pond 20 as a wetlands mitigation bank is one of many ways the Port is ensuring San Diego remains a vibrant resource and contributes to a healthy and sustainable waterfront for visitors and residents. The proposed Pond 20 wetlands mitigation bank development project is a collaborative effort between the Port, the cities of Imperial Beach and San Diego, stakeholders and planning groups. Funds from the proposed mitigation banking on Pond 20 will go into a Pond 20 Economic Development fund established for Board-approved economic development and public improvement projects in the adjacent communities within the cities of Imperial Beach and San Diego. The proposed mitigation bank is an example of how the Port champions the safekeeping and environmental care of our diverse ecosystems. Self-funded, the Port reinvests the revenues it collects from hundreds of waterfront businesses, and unique endeavors like the proposed Pond 20 wetlands mitigation bank, back into our communities and local economy.

Click here for additional information on Pond 20 wetlands mitigation bank

Advisory Committees and Groups

Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC): The Port’s Environmental Advisory Committee advises the Board on programs, policies, and projects that ensure the protection and improvement of the environmental conditions of San Diego Bay and surrounding tidelands. The EAC is composed of a member of the Board of Port Commissioners and representatives of stakeholder groups including Port tenants, environmental advocacy groups, the U.S. Navy, regulatory and resource agencies, member cities, academia, local business and labor. This diverse membership allows input from a broad and balanced cross section of the community. EAC meetings intend to encourage input from stakeholders and interaction with Port staff and Board members. EAC meetings are open to the public. 

EAC Meeting Page

Wildlife Advisory Group (WAG): The Wildlife Advisory Group is an advisory group for the Chula Vista Bayfront redevelopment project that provides environmental guidance and feedback. The WAG is primarily responsible for preparation of a Natural Resources Management Plan for the Chula Vista Bayfront, which provides environmental guidance that goes above and beyond those required by federal, state and local laws and regulations. WAG meetings are open to the public.

WAG meeting page


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