Port of San Diego Recognizes Green Port Month with Awards and Events
Contact: Marguerite Elicone, 619-686-6281, email@example.com
September is Green Port Month at the Port of San Diego, and it is being commemorated with the publication of the Green Port Year in Review, environmental education events, cleanup events, environmental awards, and much more.
First introduced in 2008 to build awareness and celebrate the Port’s environmental initiatives and achievements, Green Port Month also encourages employees, tenants, and the Port community to manage resources in an environmentally sensitive and responsible manner.
“The Port’s Green Port Program is the framework that helps the Port meet its environmental goals which include cleaner air, less waste, and saving energy and water,” said Port of San Diego Chairman Dan Malcolm. “Green Port Month highlights this and gives us the opportunity to celebrate the environmental achievements that our employees, our tenants, and our external partners have made.”
At the September 13, 2022 Board of Port Commissioners meeting, three Port employees, one Port tenant, and three regional partners were recognized for their environmental contributions and received Michelle White Environmental Awards. Michelle was a beloved Port employee who started the Green Port Month program 15 years ago and who also established the Port’s sustainability programs. To memorialize her commitment to environmental stewardship, the Michelle White Environmental Awards were created in 2016.
Port employees receiving the Michelle White Environmental Awards were Adam Meyer, Assistant Director, Real Estate; John Carter, Senior Deputy General Counsel, Office of the General Counsel; and Renee Yarmy, Program Director, Maritime.
Meyer has been an instrumental part of the Chula Vista Bayfront team. He has worked closely with the project’s developers to ensure the development aligns with the ecological vision for the area and conforms to the Chula Vista Natural Resources Management Plan. He also worked closely with the Port’s Wildlife Advisory Group to obtain approvals from the Board of Port Commissioners and the Chula Vista City Council to advance this transformative project.
Carter serves as the Port’s primary environmental attorney working to promote clean water and reduce pollution. He has worked on several high-profile environmental issues, including the Tijuana River cross-border sewage issue and sediment cleanups in the bay. His commitment has strengthened partnerships with the Regional Water Quality Control Board and other regulatory agencies, advocate groups, as well as our member city governments, Port tenants and others.
Yarmy administered the Port’s energy efficiency initiatives which has resulted in a 40 percent decrease in energy consumption relative to a 2008 baseline. She also oversees $4.9 million in funding from the California Energy Commission to deploy the Port’s first microgrid, which was awarded a 20-year power purchase agreement earlier this year. Yarmy also oversees the implementation of many of the Port’s electrification projects.
Larry Schmitz, owner of Terminalift, which operates heavy equipment and trucks out of the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, was awarded the Michelle White Environmental Award for a tenant. Schmitz has been a champion for zero emissions port operations for a decade. He has funded several equipment purchases and projects to allow for zero emissions cargo handling equipment including the first all-electric reach stacker used in port operations. Schmitz is also working with the Port on the acquisition of remote off-dock sites to assist in moving cargo quickly and efficiently off the cargo terminals.
Three regional partners also received Michelle White Environmental Awards. They were Darbi Berry, Director of Climate and Environmental Programs at the Non-Profit Institute at the University of San Diego; Brian Collins, Refuge Manager, South San Diego Bay Units of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Refuge lands; and David Gibson, Executive Officer, San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board.
Berry leads the San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative, which provides expert resources to local jurisdictions, non-profit groups, academia, utilities, and philanthropy to share best practices and to plan for regional climate change. She has been integral to help match University of San Diego students with service opportunities at the Port of San Diego through the state-wide Californians-for-All College Corps Program.
Brian Collins is the Refuge Manager for the South San Diego Bay Units of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Refuge lands and will be retiring later this month. He has been working with the Port for decades to jointly manage the endangered species nesting colony at the D Street Fill. Collins was also instrumental in leading the South Bay wetlands restoration efforts of more than 300 acres and managing the more than 20,000 birds that annually nest at the South Bay saltworks.
Gibson was recognized for his positive contributions in developing and implementing a practical vision to improve the environmental health of San Diego Bay. His coordination among the Port and its bayfront stakeholders resulted in a mutual alignment with bay-related projects and tackling the cross-boundary sewage problems in the Tijuana River Valley.
Another highlight of Green Port Month is the release of the annual Green Port Year in Review, which spotlights the Port’s environmental achievements for the year. Some of the Port’s environmental successes in fiscal year 2021-2022 include:
- The Port of San Diego was re-certified by Green Marine, North America’s largest voluntary environmental certification program for the maritime industry. The Port ranked in the top 10 percent of North American ports.
- 40 derelict vessels and 38 abandoned dinghies were removed from San Diego Bay.
- 668 pounds of batteries and lightbulbs from Port facilities were diverted from the landfill through waste diversion programs.
- With the Port’s oversight, over 25,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil was removed from Port tidelands.
- The Port received $8 million dollars from agency and philanthropic partners to expand its portfolio of nature-based solutions including living shoreline pilot projects, blue carbon initiatives, new parks and amenities, and enriching environmental education.
The full Green Port Year in Review can be viewed here.
Also, in conjunction with Green Port Month, the Port has pledged its support for California Clean Air Day, which takes place on October 5, 2022. Sponsored by the Coalition for Clean Air, California Clean Air Day provides a unique opportunity to engage employees, Port tenants, and community stakeholders to commit to actions to help improve air quality. The Port joins more than 360 organizations statewide that have taken the pledge.
Throughout the month of September, the Port encourages its employees to become ambassadors of its Green Port programs and participate in events that incorporate sustainability at work and at home. Events included the Coastal Cleanup Day on September 17, Electric Vehicle Day on October 1, California Clean Air Day, and Lunch & Learn events.
About THE Port of San Diego
The Port of San Diego serves the people of California as a specially created district, balancing multiple uses on 34 miles along San Diego Bay spanning five cities. Collecting no tax dollars, the Port manages a diverse portfolio to generate revenues that support vital public services and amenities.
The Port champions Maritime, Waterfront Development, Public Safety, Experiences and Environment, all focused on enriching the relationship people and businesses have with our dynamic waterfront. From cargo and cruise terminals to hotels and restaurants, from marinas to museums, from 22 public parks to countless events, the Port contributes to the region’s prosperity and remarkable way of life on a daily basis.
ABOUT PORT OF SAN DIEGO ENVIRONMENT
Port of San Diego Environment champions the safekeeping and environmental care of our diverse ecosystems. Year after year, environmental goals are set and measured to evolve environmental initiatives – ensuring San Diego Bay remains a vibrant resource and contributes to a remarkable way of life for visitors and residents for generations to come.