OB Town Council Facebook Live Meeting Wed., Oct. 28: Two Projects With Direct Impact on Our Coast

by on October 26, 2020 · 24 comments

in Ocean Beach

Please join the Ocean Beach Town Council on Facebook Live, Wednesday October 28rd at 7:00 pm for their Monthly Public Meeting.

At this month’s meeting, the OBTC is hosting presentations on two upcoming environmental projects that will directly impact our coastal community:

Park Ranger Araceli Dominguez will present on the OB Estuary Enhancement Project.

Matt O’Malley, Executive Director for SD Coastkeeper will present on the recently announced large scale aquaculture project and the potential impacts it could bring to our coastline. 

If you have a specific question for either presenters ahead of the meeting feel free to share them at info@obtowncouncil.org.

As always there will also receive updates from:

  • Ocean Beach Mainstreet Assoc;
  • elected officials’ representatives,
  • SDPD,
  • our SD Lifeguards and
  • OB Elementary’s Principal Marco Drapeau.

The links in the above are not valid. Go to OBTC facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/obtowncouncil/

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Avatar Geoff Page October 27, 2020 at 1:34 pm

As I wrote in my Rag piece covering this topic at the Ocean Beach Planning Board meeting, what the estuary project consists of is permanently fencing off a large area of what many people believe is part of Dog Beach. The map shown here was drawn by the Parks and Rec Ranger and is not an official designation of what Dog Beach really is. The presentation contains a slide that attributes water quality issues to dog feces at Dog Beach, something that no one has ever substantiated. The water quality issues are a result of what washes down the San Diego river.

While there may be some merit to protecting the wildlife, the extent of the proposal may surprise those who have been using Dog Beach for decades. Dog Beach lovers need to pay attention to this plan. When this came before the OBPB, the agenda description did not reflect that the plan was to wall off a a big chunk of Dog Beach. As a result, no Dog Beach lovers were in attendance because they had no idea what was being discussed. But, the meeting was was overwhelmingly attended by Audubon bird lovers who knew what was happening.

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Avatar lyle October 27, 2020 at 10:36 pm

You say “The map shown here was drawn by the Parks and Rec Ranger and is not an official designation of what Dog Beach really is.” I agree. So I thought I would do a bit of research and find a record of what the official boundary is.

I unseccesfully tried to find, on the city website, a drawing or map of the official boundaries of dog beach. I’m wondering if anyone else has found where this boundary is, and could help us by providing a link to this data.

Lacking any data to the contrary, I would accept the park rangers drawing since she is, after all, an official.

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Avatar kh October 28, 2020 at 11:15 am

I searched too. All I found was a very crude park map, basically polygons, showing dog beach connecting to cat jetty, which it obviously hasn’t since the 60s.

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Citizen Cane Larry OB October 28, 2020 at 9:57 pm

The cut in the sand plug was done with bulldozers in the early 80’s. I’m thinking maybe 1983. It was done on an emergency basis, because of bad sewage spills upriver. I don’t think there were any meetings or public input. The emergency fix became permanent. I don’t think anybody bothered with a map.

I don’t remember when the city closed the hard sand parking lot at North OB. Some campers had been run over in their sleeping bags. The police threw up their hands, and said they couldn’t police the area. So the lot was closed permanently. I don’t think there ware any public meetings for this either. Perhaps this “police planning” predates the Coastal Commission.

There might be some lost History buried in the minutes of the Mission Bay Park Committee. It would probably just confirm that OB residents weren’t part of the planning process. All the more reason to have better notice for future meetings. Plus this doesn’t just affect dog people and bird people. This affects people that like to kayak, surf, dig for clams fly kites, catch fish, picnic with kids, etc. We need a bigger and more diverse group of people involved in the planning.

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Avatar Geoff Page October 29, 2020 at 9:57 am

Well said, Larry, especially the last sentence.

I remember when they closed the beach to vehicles that used to park along the river, that was a great move that I think most people would have agreed with. But, yes, anything that happens to public land like this needs widespread discussion. Too often, special interest groups are getting their way today by avoiding dissent. Look what the natural plant people have done to Sunset Cliffs park. Look what the cyclists are doing all over the city.

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Avatar Geoff Page October 28, 2020 at 2:37 pm

lyle, Your last sentence really concerns me. So, because you see the ranger as an “official,” you are accepting her version of the map? What qualifications does this person have as a Parks and Rec ranger have to draw such a map? If you put your faith in people because you perceive them as “official,” you will surely be disappointed.

The point is that there is no official map of Dog Beach anywhere, so leaving it to one person to decide simply by drawing a map does not make sense. Dog Beach people need to step up and let the city know what they think Dog Beach consists of, it is not for one person to decide.

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Avatar nostalgic October 28, 2020 at 3:52 pm

All property is owned by somebody. Parks & Rec has a department that keeps track of all deeds and park dedications. Quite likely it is a part of Mission Bay Park, since Robb Field is a part of Mission Bay Park, but I am not sure. Then it would be part of the MB Park deed. Only dedicated parks are protected by the City charter. There are deeds on file for Sunset Cliffs Natural Park.

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Avatar kh October 27, 2020 at 6:02 pm

I’ll counter Geoff’s comment.

This project would augment the existing rope and post barriers that line the trails through bird nesting areas around the marsh and natural dunes at the east end of Dog Beach. The area already has signage from the bike path side explaining the area is a nesting area and to stay on established paths. This would add 3ft wood picket barriers along those rope barriers to help keep dogs and Geoff on the pathways while still allowing small animals and birds to pass through.

Homeless also use the area as a campground and leave lots of trash and bulky items behind. This won’t prevent any determined person from entering the space but it may give them less excuse to claim they didn’t know any better. Araceli is one of our Park Rangers that patrols this area and is very familiar with the challenges there. I would encourage her to use every tool at her disposal to deal with those who disrespect our park spaces.

I fully support this proposal, as have the groups she’s presented it to so far. There is lots of room to roam at Dog Beach. I see no issue with taking some measures to further protect part of our natural spaces as well, especially when it isn’t compatible with dogs running loose through it.

But you can decide for yourself. Here is the presentation on this item to the Mission Bay Park Committee: https://www.sandiego.gov/sites/default/files/obeep-presentation.pdf

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Avatar Geoff Page October 27, 2020 at 6:48 pm

kh, buddy, I don’t see that my comment needed countering. All I did was provide some information that I thought was important. I seem to have raised the ire of a number of folks just for pointing out what I have.

Other than that, your comment is fine because it offers additional information, along with your personal opinion, which was something that I did not provide in my comment.

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Avatar kh October 27, 2020 at 11:00 pm

Sadly, public participation has dwindled now that everything’s online. I wouldn’t blame the agenda description for that. Even some big controversial items don’t bring in public comment.

You’d think more would participate now that it’s available at their fingertips. Anything the OB rag can do to bring more attention and public input to these sort of items is welcomed.

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Avatar Geoff Page October 28, 2020 at 2:43 pm

kh, I’ll take your word for this as you are a board member, but I’ve personally been getting the opposite feeling from the several planning board and town council meetings I’ve attended. It seemed to me that more people were showing up because it is so much easier to do now. I agree that getting participation in planning board meetings is very hard. Frank with The OB Rag makes an effort to publicize upcoming meetings and there is Nextdoor for those still willing to be part of that. Being able to log in from the comfort of home and not having to travel should increase participation. Especially when people are stuck at home looking for entertainment!

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Avatar kh October 27, 2020 at 6:06 pm

And I’ll add that I’m a local dog owner that frequents dog beach.

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sealintheSelkirks sealintheSelkirks October 28, 2020 at 10:47 am

You know a couple of things that are, in a way, a bit funny? It’s that there isn’t anything ‘natural’ about Dog Beach or anything else that is connected to the man-made waste canal called the San Diego River and the jetties. Can the bird people even imagine what the San Diego River must have looked like when it turned south at Old Town and the entire Midway District was a meandering river marsh running to the Bay? The numbers of bird species that must have called it home would have been amazing! Or what Mission Valley was before concrete and asphalt etc etc filled it in? Now that must have been a wonderful place for birds and other wildlife, too.

I have an idea on what to do with the Midway District but it’ll never fly…oh wait I wrote a pun!

As for dog poop being cause of ‘water quality issues’ but not all the rest of the toxic pollutants that wash down the rectum of Mission Valley, the worst water quality I ever saw was back in the mid-70s sometime when one of Lloyd’s Pest Control warehouses washed into it (a good idea is to never build in a flood plain) and one of the Seal Team surfer guys, Dyke Driggs the younger brother of shaper Topper Driggs of OB’s Topperboards, was out at South Mission jetty in big storm surf and came in with seizures and puking and shaking so bad he couldn’t walk with his skin turned yellow, and he was rushed to the hospital because he had been poisoned. Heavily poisoned and so bad I never heard the complete list of what they found in his blood and tissues. It affected him for years, his balance and strength, everything went downhill.

Again, rule #1, don’t build in a flood plain. Rule #2, don’t surf at the outlet of a flood plain especially when it’s flooding during storms.

Think of all the chemicals that daily wash down that chute…insecticides and herbicides from the golf course, spills from this or that, etc etc. Seems like dog poop would be low on the list that affects water quality but maybe that’s all they test for?

sealintheSelkirks

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Avatar Geoff Page October 28, 2020 at 2:50 pm

Well said, seal. As I’m sure you already guessed, their goal is to get dogs out of the area, so the only thing they highlighted was dog shit. This same argument has been made over the years to close Dog Beach but it has never been substantiated. And it hasn’t now. The problem, as you described, comes down the river through Mission Valley. Anyone can take a look at the river along that way and visibly see the pollution it collects and sends to Dog Beach.

Making an honest presentation appeal to help the birds is one thing. But, when I see something that misleading in a presentation like this, I don’t trust any of it.

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sealintheSelkirks sealintheSelkirks October 29, 2020 at 10:47 am

Yes, an honest presentation about solving some of the birder problems would be far more reasonable but lying by omission/commission is pretty much the standard in our form of politics. Too much gets hidden while those that benefit dangle misdirection in people’s faces that touch emotional triggers. The art of politics indeed, and you are correct about not trusting any of it when one catches on. Wish more people didn’t, ya know?

That day Dyke got poisoned was when I stopped surfing South Mission Jetty, and I’ve got pictures taken by a girlfriend of the place just firing at double/triple overhead one winter surfing with one of the Hamel brothers (Danny) and a couple others in just incredible lined-up lefts. That place used to rock with the right swell but what I saw happen to Dyke just wasn’t worth the waves…

Never surfed OB big jetty for that matter after that, either. Same stuff flowing out on both sides! And if you think about it, birds that feed along those shores are just as susceptible to the poisons that wash down as we are. So are our dogs. What we continue to do to our ecosystem is disgusting.

sealintheSelkirks

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Avatar Geoff Page October 29, 2020 at 2:47 pm

That was a shame to hear about your friend. I’ve only surfed the jetty on the river side a couple of times and it made me nervous knowing what was coming down the river. I prefer Sunset Cliffs as a much less risky option.

One of the things that amazes me is that this area they want to fence off has the aforementioned dirty river running into it from the east and two large storm drain outlets on the west end. Guess that could really be called a shit sandwich.

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sealintheSelkirks sealintheSelkirks October 31, 2020 at 2:42 pm

A shit sandwich for the birds? You made a pun, too! I doubt seagulls would care but there surely are negative effects on the rest of the bird species that roost in that sandwich. Like what DDT did to egg shells comes to mind. Bet there isn’t a dime of funding for studies about that and, truthfully, who really wants to know just how bad the toxic effects are because that would mean that some people would have to change their behavior that might cut into quarterly profits… the horror of that, eh?

Last thing about Dyke Driggs; just a few years later he was working on a north Mission Blvd. painting job, one of those 3-story apartment buildings near Tourmaline, when he fell off the top of the scaffolding and broke his back in the fall along with various other parts of his body. I was pretty sure at the time that the poisoning at MB Jetty had something major to do with it. It could easily have morphed into long-term effects from toxic poisoning which is pretty well established in the literature.

I often wonder how different living in this world would be if the environment everywhere weren’t so badly degraded by our species? Up here there is ongoing horrible clearcut logging that I thought had been phased out in the 70s, mining waste ranging from uranium to gold-created ‘superfund’ sites, and to be blunt I won’t eat fish caught in any of the rivers and streams in the valleys due to the agricultural ‘cides’ runoff from the cattle feed industry…

sealintheSelkirks

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Avatar Jane Donley October 29, 2020 at 5:29 pm

Since Dog Beach was designated “off-leash” by the City Council in May 1972, there have been three DNA studies — and 2/3rds of the pollution was from birds. They never tested for heavy metals, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics or other exotic pollutants. Human and dog feces were small but concerning amounts.

As one of the former owners of Dog Beach (1993-2019), we orchestrated dog beach cleanups at least 15 times a year. Out of respect for the Audubon Society, we encouraged dog guardians to keep there dogs from chasing birds, as we shared the mouth of the San Diego River.

We always assumed that Dog Beach included the area from the ocean to the Sunset Cliffs Blvd. bridge. We cleaned that large patch of sand/water, and enjoyed walking east without ever threatening the birds. While we respected the fenced-off area to protect the Least Terns for a few years (fledgelings mostly killed by crows and feral cats), this bogus line/fence in the sand is an officious attempt to restrict and deny dog owners their right to recreate at Dog Beach.

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Avatar Polecat October 30, 2020 at 11:17 pm

“We always assumed that Dog Beach included the area from the ocean to the Sunset Cliffs Blvd. bridge.”

This assumption is contrary to multiple signs that say “PLEASE KEEP YOUR DOG ON A LEASH – DOG BEACH 200 yds WEST”

Then another one that says “PLEASE KEEP YOUR DOG ON A LEASH – DOG BEACH 400 yds WEST”

It is easy to find these signs using Google Maps, and then measure 200 yards from the 200yd sign, which then takes you to the large trailhead-style shingled kiosk that says “Sand Dune Community” and “Time and Tides Gone By.”

Are you claiming multiple city signs are incorrect? They have been there at least since 2009.

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Avatar Geoff Page November 1, 2020 at 12:12 pm

Where exactly are these signs?

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Avatar kh November 2, 2020 at 9:16 am

On the bike path heading west past the marsh. I think the purpose of those signs is for wayfinding and to deter people from letting their dogs loose prematurely on the bike path or Robb field. But where the trails crossing the dunes into dog beach start, there are additional city signs to stay on the designated paths, and information about the bird habitat.

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Avatar Geoff Page November 2, 2020 at 12:58 pm

Thanks for the clarification, kh, that was what I suspected. I’ve never seen the signs mentioned down on Dog Beach itself. I’ve never included the bike path in Dog Beach and, in fact, have always seen it as the border beyond which dogs had to be leashed.

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Peter Peter from South O November 1, 2020 at 1:54 pm

Go to Google Maps and street view on the bikeway near the mouth of Smiley’s, then walk towards Dog Beach. The signs are big and obvious.

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Avatar Geoff Page November 2, 2020 at 5:39 pm

Ok, I just ran by these signs, I guess I’ve run past them a thousand times as they are along my regular run. At the top, the signs say your dog must be on a leash. There is a solid line under all of that below which is the wording about Dog Beach being 400 and then 200 yards away. All the signs do is direct people to the first path down off the bike path and onto the beach. The signs, Polecat, do not have any function in delineating Dog Beach boundaries.

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