California Coastal Commission Greenlights Restoration of South San Diego Bay Wetlands
Coastal Development Permit Issued for Joint Effort between Poseidon Water and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to Restore 125 acres in the Otay River Estuary
Carlsbad, Calif. (May 15, 2019) – Poseidon Water, owner and operator of the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), received unanimous approval from the California Coastal Commission last week on a Coastal Development Permit for restoration of the Otay River Estuary in South San Diego Bay.
The Otay River Estuary Restoration Project will create, restore and enhance approximately 125 acres of coastal wetlands to benefit native fish, wildlife, and plant species, and to provide habitat for migratory seabirds and shorebirds and salt marsh–dependent species.
“After several years of collaboration with Poseidon Water, we are proud that our proposal for the restoration of the Otay River Estuary has been approved by the California Coastal Commission,” said Andy Yuen, Project Leader for the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex, part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “This is the final step in the process towards making this project a reality. We look forward to our continued cooperation with Poseidon Water to benefit the local coastal environment and wildlife as well as San Diego County residents and visitors for many years to come.”
The innovative project will restore approximately 125 acres of coastal wetlands and associated uplands on the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge. 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 on approximately 91 acres of an existing solar salt pond at Pond 15 to the west of the intersection of Bay Boulevard and Palomar Street in Chula Vista. The project, which is being undertaken as part of Poseidon Water’s environmental enhancements associated with the Carlsbad Desalination Project, will provide overall ecosystem benefits, adequate buffers and a healthy habitat to support sensitive species while requiring minimum maintenance.
“After several years of preparation, Poseidon Water is thrilled to move forward on the Otay River Estuary Restoration Project, and further its efforts to improve San Diego’s regional quality of life by protecting and preserving the coastal environment,” said Carlos Riva, Poseidon Water CEO. “Ensuring the health and vitality of San Diego’s natural resources like the Otay River Estuary will benefit the health and vitality of the local marine environment so we can all continue to enjoy it for generations to come.”
The project implements the habitat restoration objectives of the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan and fulfills the applicable terms and conditions of the permits issued to Poseidon Water by the California Coastal Commission and San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board for the Carlsbad Desalination Project. The partnership between the USFWS and Poseidon Water provides public benefits by restoring coastal wetlands and wildlife habitats within the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge and allows Poseidon to meet its mitigation requirements for the Carlsbad Desalination Project.
In addition to Poseidon Water and the USFWS, the California Coastal Commission, Port of San Diego, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board are also involved in this effort. Construction is anticipated to begin in fall 2019 and take approximately two years to complete.
About Poseidon Water – Poseidon Water is a private company that partners with public agencies to deliver water infrastructure projects. The company's primary focus is developing large-scale reverse osmosis seawater desalination plants implemented through innovative public-private partnerships in which private enterprise assumes the developmental and financial risks. For more information on Poseidon’s Carlsbad Desalination Plant, visit the plant website at carlsbaddesal.com. For more information on Poseidon’s Huntington Beach desalination plant visit the project website at HBfreshwater.com.
About the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – The mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System is to administer a national network of lands and waters for the conservation, management, and where appropriate, restoration of the fish, wildlife, and plant resources and their habitats within the United States for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans. For more information on the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge visit https://www.fws.gov/refuge/san_diego_bay.
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