Things get ReWild as Pacific Beach Town Council gets Audubon's updates
Published - 02/25/16 - 01:59 PM | 5513 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In February, Pacific Beach Town Council was updated on plans to resurrect Mission Bay wetlands and fight alcohol-related and other crimes along the beachfront.

Town council also heard from a Mission Beach bike rental operator, who plans to take his fight against DecoBike boardwalk stations directly to the bikeshare operator's San Diego headquarters.

Rebecca Schwartz, San Diego Audubon's conservation program manager, clued the council in on ReWild Mission Bay, a three-year project to enhance and restore up to 170 acres of wetlands in the northeast corner of Mission Bay.

“The vision is to enhance and restore wetlands at the mouth of Rose Creek,” said Schwartz, noting the remaining marsh, known by various names including the Kendall Frost Reserve, has shrunk to about 40 acres, which she said is “nonsustainable.”

Schwartz noted Mission Bay is actually a “misnomer.”

“It wasn't a bay at all,” she said. “It's actually a salt marsh estuary of about 4,000 acres.”

In a slideshow presentation, Schwartz showed old aerial photographs of Mission Bay depicting just how much it has been altered, encroached upon and manipulated by man. She pointed out, nonetheless, that Mission Bay is the “largest aquatic recreation facility in the United States, with 14 million users a year.”

Schwartz said the bay is also home to thousands of migrating and shorebirds as well as a host of federally threatened and endangered species.

A public workshop on ReWild is set for 5 to 8 p.m Wednesday, March 16 in Mission Bay High.

School's library, 2475 Grand Ave.

“San Diego Audubon is an environmental nonprofit dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife and their habitats,” Schwartz said.

Schwartz added one objective of the three-year Rewild habitat reclamation project is to reconnect and repair the wetlands with Rose Creek, which she noted will act as a buffer and natural filtering mechanism to keep sediments and pollution upstream from entering Mission Bay.

In other matters:

• San Diego Police Department Capt. Mark Hanten fielded audience questions on crime in Pacific Beach. He answered tough inquiries from local residents, several of whom expressed frustration with the overabundance of liquor licenses and lack of local control over zoning of such facilities.

He specifically addressed noise complaints from a Super Bowl block party near the boardwalk, which some people felt had gotten out of hand. While acknowledging that there were significant issues to be dealt with, Hanten also noted he got numerous emails indicating how organized and well run the event was.

• Matthew Gardner, owner of Cheap Rentals in Mission Beach, which rents bicycles, addressed the board stating his intent to take the fight against boardwalk bikesharing stations directly to their parent company, DecoBike.

“We need to stop mismanagement of the bikeshare program, as all the DecoBike sites are only in tourist-based locations that don't do anything for anybody (local),” Gardner said. “No one is not using their cars and biking to work. All that's doing is taking biking rentals away from businesses like mine.”

On Saturday, Feb. 27, Gardner said he and others intend to protest with bikes and signage in front of DecoBike's headquarters at 4909 Pacific Highway.

“We're going to meet there at 1 p.m.,” Gardner said. “Hopefully, it will have an impact. We're really trying to lead the charge.”

Miami-based DecoBike signed a 10-year agreement to bring its bikeshare program to more than 100 locations citywide. Pacific Beach however said no to bikeshare stations on the boardwalk, two of which are currently being utilized.

• Dianne Brittingham, president of Pacific Beach Woman's Club, promoted the service group's annual wine tasting fundraiser to be held Saturday, April 30 from 2 to 5 p.m at Hornblend Hall, 1721 Hornblend St. “It's only $15 a ticket, it's a lot of fun, there's a silent auction, it's a great event and you're also helping your community,” Brittingham said.

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