“Part of what makes our city great is our ability to connect with our natural environment,” said Faulconer, who officiated at the mural dedication. “This artwork celebrates an often over-looked natural resource that provides an abundance of recreational and environmental opportunities for San Diegans. I am proud to join community members to remind San Diegans of the need to protect Rose Creek and highlight its important relationship to improving the water quality of Mission Bay.”
Kelly Makley of Rose Creek Watershed, an alliance of organizations formed to help plan the future of the 23,427-acre watershed that extends as far as Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, said, “All of us are trying to raise awareness for this important resource.”
Makley thanked Friends of Rose Canyon, Friends of Rose Creek, Friends of Mission Bay Marshes and the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition for participating in the mural unveiling.
Stanley Rodriguez, a Kumeyaay Indian educator, singer and storyteller, was present to dedicate the mural. Rodriguez noted that Rose Creek has been historically important to tribal people who gathered shellfish and building materials there in the springtime.
“We need to take care of our land, take care of these things because we are the stewards of this land, we’re the stewards of this area,” he said praising event guests and thanking them.
Michael Gelfand, president of the management company operating Campland on the Bay adjacent to Rose Creek, talked about the watershed's significance.
“This is a very special place for all of us because it’s a way we can connect, not only to history, but to beauty and the interconnectedness of everything,” Gelfand said, noting the creek “has a lot of meaning to kids who can explore nature and the lifeforms that thrive in an area where salt and freshwater converge.”
Rebecca Schwartz of the San Diego Audubon Society said the environmental significance of Rose Creek cannot be underestimated.
“The whole northeast corner of Mission Bay is the 7 percent of what remains of a once vast 3,000 acres of wetlands and is an incredibly important habitat for birds and fish, as well as being a nursery for juvenile animals, as well as a flyway for migrating birds,” Schwartz said.
The watershed, said fellow Audubon Society member Sylvia Busby, is also "one of the most threatened habitats in San Diego."
Schwartz said the devastation of the watershed is indicative of California's wetlands in general.
“Over 90 percent of California’s wetlands have been destroyed,” noted Schwartz. "It’s important to protect wetlands, not only for the wildlife, but for the ecosystem.”