Webinar Highlights Similar, and Successful, ReWilding Effort in Santa Barbara County

ReWild Mission Bay, in conjunction with the UC San Diego Natural Reserve System, Citizens Coordinate for Century III (C3), and the San Diego Audubon Society (SDAS), presented a webinar this past Tuesday, Feb. 9, that detailed a successful “rewilding” project on the UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) campus, in which a disused oceanside golf course along the mouth of Devereux Creek in Goleta that had become overwhelmed by frequent coastal flooding and tidal action was restored to its native habitat in a remarkable multi-year effort.

The webinar can be seen in its entirety on YouTube at the SDAS Conservation page, or via the ReWild Mission Bay website.

Utilizing the efforts of an army of students and project volunteers, and led by Dr. Lisa Stratton, the director of ecosystem management at the Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration (CCBER) at UCSB, the effort saw the planting of 300,000 native species over a 665 acre area as the topography was regraded and realigned to resemble the mouth of natural Southern California waterways, facilitate normal movement of outbound water from the watershed, and accommodate natural tidal influences from the sea in the resulting wetland. The resulting restoration is now open to the public as part of the larger North Campus Open Space (NCOS) on the UCSB campus.

Dr. Stratton was the featured guest, with introductory remarks from Heather Henter, executive director of the UC San Diego Natural Reserve System; Ryan Karlsgodt, president of Citizens Coordinate for Century III (C3); and Andrew Meyer, campaign director at ReWild Mission Bay and conservation director at San Diego Audubon. Tommy Hough, campaign coordinator for ReWild Mission Bay, served as the event host.

County “Love Your Wetlands Day” Proclamation

The Feb. 9th webinar event occurred on the same day as San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher proclaimed Feb. 9th to be “Love Your Wetlands Day” throughout San Diego County, in reference to the annual ReWild Mission Bay event typically held in early February at Kendall-Frost Marsh Reserve in Pacific Beach, but moved to a virtual space this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Elected Officials’ Videos Support Love Your Wetlands Day

Chairman Fletcher’s proclamation came in conjunction with the rollout and debut of videos submitted by Supervisor Fletcher, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, and Council President Jennifer Campbell to honor Love Your Wetlands Day, and were screened at the beginning of the Feb. 9th webinar. The clips will similarly be featured ahead of the next ReWild Mission Bay webinar on Tuesday, Feb. 16, at 6:30 p.m.

New California King Tides Project Video

Featuring the debut of a new video from the California King Tides Project, and featuring photos from three San Diego-area high school students supported by San Diego Audubon staff and partners over the last year, our Feb. 16th webinar will tackle the impacts of king tides on the California coast, and how the twice-a-year king tide phenomenon of today will become the daily high tides of years to come as sea levels continue to rise.

Julia Chase, senior planner with the City of San Diego, and Heidi Vonblum, deputy director of environmental policy and public spaces, will join California King Tides Project lead, documentary photographer, and retired UCSD photography instructor Leland Foerster to talk about the impacts of king tides on coastal bluffs and low-lying areas, and what our region is doing to stay ahead of rising sea levels.

Registration for the webinar on Tuesday, Feb. 16, is now open via the San Diego Audubon website. It begins at 6:30 p.m. on the 16th.

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ReWild Mission Bay is a project of the San Diego Audubon Society and our ReWild Coalition partners to enhance and restore wetlands in the northeast corner of Mission Bay to create new opportunities for wildlife and native habitat to thrive, and for San Diegans to enjoy nature in our collective backyard.