Support the Efforts of the ReWild Mission Bay Coalition And Let Your Voice Be Heard

By Marie Brown

San Diegans can get involved now and help guide the development of one of the region’s most iconic landscapes – Mission Bay. The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) gives the public the opportunity to be part of the planning process for projects that can impact the environment. Under this law, there is an opportunity to voice concerns before projects are approved and constructed, as the CEQA mandates that the public be an integral part of the process. Concerned citizens can impact the decisions made by the government Lead Agency in charge of overseeing a proposed project because the CEQA requires the Lead Agency to respond to all public comments filed and to prevent or mitigate the negative ecological impacts of such a project (CEQA Public Review Training Video). The Environmental Center of San Diego (ECOSD) is urging San Diegans to participate in the CEQA process. Take advantage of this opportunity to play a critical role in the upcoming environmental policy decisions which will affect one of San Diego’s most beloved landmarks for many decades to come. 

The CEQA process gives every member of the public a voice.

 In June 2018, the City of San Diego Planning Department (the Lead Agency for this project) circulated a Notice of Preparation for the De Anza Cove Amendment to the Mission Bay Park Master Plan (2018 NOP). Based on the feedback received by the City from concerned citizens, conservation organizations and various stakeholders, the plan was placed on hold for further evaluation. A new, modified project, now called ‘De Anza Natural’ (De Anza Natural), is currently in the initial stages of the required CEQA analysis. A scoping meeting was held by City staff on January 24, 2022, during which members of the public shared verbal comments about the revised planned project for Mission Bay (2022 NOP). In February 2022, members of the public also submitted written comments to the City, as the CEQA Lead Agency on this project.

 In the next few months a draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) will be issued by the City detailing the official plans for this sensitive local wildlife habitat. You can stay informed on the status of this project by signing up to be notified when this draft EIR is released to the public (Sign Up For Updates). And, once you have read this report, you can submit your comments in support or opposition to the proposed project, so that the City can consider your input as part of this crucial phase of the development discussions. 

Preserving the natural resources of the De Anza Cove area in the northeast corner of Mission Bay must be made a priority. Amending the plan for Mission Bay is an opportunity not only to expand the wetlands and provide much needed protected habitat for local species, it is also a way for the San Diego region to create a nature-based solution to climate change. The ReWild Mission Bay Coalition organized by the San Diego Audubon Society is actively involved in rehabilitating these natural wetlands and its member organizations are also focused on the climate resiliency and carbon sequestration benefits this project will provide (ReWild Mission Bay). The ReWild Mission Bay Coalition is advocating to allow native plants and wildlife to thrive at Mission Bay and to give San Diegans and visitors the opportunity to more fully enjoy local natural habitats. The coalition is also seeking support from the public for its efforts to give Mission Bay visitors long-overdue access to the coastline and to recognize the history of the Ipai-Tipai Kumeyaay people who made this area their ancestral homeland.

 Consider helping the efforts to restore this currently vulnerable wildlife habitat and to improve the water quality in Mission Bay. Let’s protect this land and offer countless educational and research opportunities for local families and visitors. Under the CEQA, the public may have only 30 days to provide comments and feedback once the draft EIR is released by the City. The timing of community input is critical to preserving legal rights. So get prepared now and learn more about this process (CEQA 101). You can be heard on what happens next. You can participate in policy development that will protect wildlife and support conservation efforts and the San Diego environment. The health and well-being of our local environment depends on it. ECOSD hopes that you will be part of the solution.

 Are you too busy to read the draft EIR report or to write a letter listing your comments or concerns in response to it? You can still be part of the process and make sure that all environment issues are addressed by supporting any of the more than 50 conservation organizations (Coalition – ReWild Mission Bay) that have joined the ReWild Mission Bay Coalition!

 ECOSD is a proud supporter of the ReWild Mission Bay project. Our mission is to create a deeper understanding and appreciation of positive environmental change and advocacy in San Diego. We hope that you will help us in this goal and that we will see you at the next ReWild Mission Bay public forum!