Coastkeeper’s Forum to Focus on Mission Bay Water – May 12th

by on May 10, 2011 · 0 comments

in Environment, San Diego

Cleaner Today -- While Mission Bay gained a reputation for being contaminated by numerous sewage spills in the 1990s, the bay is much cleaner today. Its remaining issues are largely related to urban runoff. Photo by:

San Diego Coastkeeper to Hold Quarterly “Signs of the Tide”

By Taylor Hill / The Log / Originally published May 04, 2011

MISSION BAY — San Diego resident and San Diego Coastkeeper outreach coordinator Dylan Edwards grew up sailing and wakeboarding in Mission Bay, in a time when many people saw the aquatic park as little more than a contaminated saltwater lagoon.

“I remember people saying, ‘Eww, you wakeboard there?’” Edwards recalled. “I think it has that reputation because of the chronic sewage spills that happened in the 1990s and early 2000s.”

Since then, San Diego Coastkeeper, a nonprofit organization that aims to protect San Diego’s inland and coastal waters, has worked with San Diego city officials on the infrastructure of the area’s sewage system, limiting many of the spills that plagued the area.

“The truth is, the chronic sewage spills have gone away, but there are still urban runoff issues,” Edwards said. A recent study conducted by the city of San Diego showed that nearly 70 percent of bacteria found in Mission Bay was a result of bird fecal matter runoff.

“If someone overwaters their lawn or the city overwaters a park, the bacteria from the birds can get carried into the bay,” Edwards said.

Edwards — who moors his Catalina 25 in Mission Bay — is looking to get the word out, and has put together a program for San Diego Coastkeeper’s quarterly “Signs of the Tide” event May 12.

“I wanted to give the public and the boating community the opportunity to learn what’s really going on in Mission Bay,” Edwards said. “Things have changed, and the more the public is educated on what’s really going on, the more people will understand how to limit their own effects on urban runoff.”

Speakers will include Rob Hutsel, director of San Diego River Parks Foundation, who will talk about the history of Mission Bay and how the course of water flowing to the bay from the San Diego River has been changed, as well as the water circulation trends in Mission Bay throughout the year in Mission Bay.

Ken Schiff, deputy director of the Southern California coastal water research project, will speak about water quality testing methods in Mission Bay, and how the bay’s water quality compares to other water bodies in the region.

Ruth Kolb, program manager for the city of San Diego’s Transportation and Stormwater Department will talk about how the bay got its bad reputation, and how city officials have taken steps to improve the quality of the water. She will talk on the effects of boats dumping holding tank contents into the bay, as well as copper-based antifouling hull paints.

Jen Kovecses, a staff scientist at San Diego Coastkeeper, will speak about the current problems San Diego Coastkeeper sees affecting Mission Bay’s water quality.

The event will be held at Urban Corps San Diego, at 3127 Jefferson St. For more information, visit



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