Audubon Society: Mission Bay Planners Okay City’s Misguided Plan for De Anza

by on December 6, 2017 · 2 comments

in Ocean Beach

Park Committee Votes to Advance Draft Plan that Fails to Address Sea Level Rise to EIR Process

Edited from San Diego Audubon Society:

At the Mission Bay Park Committee hearing held on Tuesday, December 5th, a divided Mission Bay Park Committee narrowly approved a plan for the redevelopment of De Anza Cove over objections from hundreds of community members. The Park Committee took action to approve “alternative 2,” which forwards the plans to a formal environmental review process with the City.

Representatives from San Diego Audubon joined Campland on the Bay, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and California State Coastal Conservancy in opposing the two proposed alternative plans offered by the City of San Diego.

Rebecca Schwartz Lesberg, conservation staff with San Diego Audubon, stated:

“Unfortunately, the two concepts presented by the City were driven by misguided priorities that ultimately fail to reach the goals of the Mission Bay Park Master Plan. It’s even more unfortunate that the Park Committee took action only after heavy lobbying from its chairman and misinformation by City staff.”

According to the City’s Mission Bay Park Master Plan, which serves as the guiding document for the City of San Diego’s De Anza Revitalization Plan, planning for this area must include wetlands restoration and improvements aimed at protecting those marsh areas. Schwartz Lesberg says the alternative selected does very little to correct the bay-wide imbalance that has for decades favored commerce and recreation at the expense of the environment.

She says to adequately protect wetlands in Mission Bay, the City would need to dedicate at least 200 acres of this planning area — less than five percent of Mission Bay — to habitat. The plan currently only has around 30 – 40 acres set aside for wetlands, increasing the less than two percent of wetlands in the bay to less than three percent. Schwartz:

“It’s disappointing to watch the City push concepts that are not resilient to sea level rise,They are ignoring the inevitable. These concepts place the burden of responding to climate change on future generations and miss the opportunity to prepare our region for shrinking coastlines.”

Early in last night’s meeting, the Park Committee requested detailed modeling and cost estimates to guide its decision on the two alternative plans. Rather than pause the process to provide the necessary information for decision making, City staff led the committee to believe that the only way to learn more about the potential impacts of the plan was to approve one last night.

That is not the case, says Schwartz Lesberg. She is leading San Diego Audubon’s simultaneous and complementary feasibility study called ReWild Mission Bay, a nearly half-million dollar analysis of the costs and benefits of various restoration plans, which is funded by state and federal governments. This study, due to be released in early 2018, includes the kinds of hydrological modeling, engineering details, and cost estimates the Park Committee requested last night.

Chris Redfern, Executive Director of San Diego Audubon, said:

“We’re thankful that Park Committee Member Cynthia Hedgecock and several others repeatedly asked to slow the voting process to allow for necessary input from the ReWild Mission Bay assessment. We were stunned to see two people unravel that progress. There is no reason the Park Committee needed to take action last night in a vacuum of information.”

Hedgecock was joined in her request to slow the process by several committee members who voted to delay a decision by just two months, pending finalization of the ReWild study. That vote failed when the Park Committee’s chair voted, creating a 4-4 tie that killed the motion. Following the tied vote, and after additional lobbying by the Park Committee chair and City staff, the committee ultimately approved one of the two alternatives.

For more information about ReWild Mission Bay, please visit To learn more about the San Diego Audubon Society, please click here.


San Diego Audubon Society is a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering the protection and appreciation of birds, other wildlife and their habitats. Education, environmental recreation and conservation programs make San Diego Audubon a significant resource for the natural world in San Diego.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

freedompleaseorg December 6, 2017 at 11:45 am

How long will WE continue to get BULLYed by those we’ve elected and appointed? First ending #affordablehousing plan, taking 10,000 units of SRO’s and affordable housing off the market. Last decade. Then not alleviating homelessness problems for years! Then Hep. A gifting to tourists that come here to visit…see newspaper articles, while sickening 567 constituents, w/ over 400 being hospitalized AND 20+ DEAD! Now, kicking constituent neighbors around to have to live on the San Diego River, which also has wave water going into Mission Bay! Hep. A might be in the water! Might last long in water, yet we haven’t had strong local studies yet…but we DO KNOW nature and plants FILTER out bad things! Yet, once again the City of San Diego has no wise patience when it comes to letting homeless & poor die, getting good study info and voting on hundreds of MILLION$ worth of gov’t funding. I see & smell a shell game, and it ain’t going to be good for you, your neighbors, or children & Grand children! Peace, but mostly think we need prayer!


micporte December 6, 2017 at 10:37 pm

the city has always considered Mission Bay park as a commercial enterprise more than an essential environmental “lung” or maybe “liver” would be a better comparison…favoring lease opportunities, and development to just leaving it, and its ecosystem alone..; BUT in this era of environmental pessimism, we can take heart that at least Sea World, under pressure, has stopped shooting off toxic fireworks into the sky every night to poison the bay and the surroundings… the Mission Bay park committee is more like a booking agency for the space than any sort of protector..


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