Community Environment News

Text of Jim Peugh’s Wetland Restoration Remarks to the De Anza ad hoc Committee

Three regulatory agencies have recommended adoption of the Wildest alternative, which will help the city reach its Climate Action Plan goals.

Jim Peugh’s testimony to the De Anza Natural ad hoc Commitee on July 6th, 2023.

The project area being discussed is well-known for having very poor water quality.

As a result, the Mission Bay Park Master Plan Update recommended that water quality be a “foremost consideration” for this project, and recommends an increase in wetland area to improve it.

The Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) has recommended that you adopt a Wildest-scale wetland restoration in order to improve water quality in this area. They are the agency that knows water quality solutions best.

We urge you to recommend a wetland restoration with trails, boardwalks, kayak trails, and interpretive and educational features in portions of those wetlands.

You have heard testimony that increasing wetland area would displace recreational use, but these restored wetlands would provide much-needed nature-based recreational, educational, and scenic value for park users.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CADFW) have each recommended the Wildest alternative for the water portion of the project in their letters to the city, which should be helpful in acquiring permits in the future.

The city of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan commits the city to restoring 350 acres of wetlands by 2030 for carbon sequestration. This project can provide a significant portion of that.

Please recommend that the city take advantage of all these benefits by including Wildest-scale wetland restoration in this project.

Thanks to each of you for taking on this challenging task.

A long-time member of the San Diego Audubon board and a founding member of the San Diego River Park Foundation, Jim Peugh is the previous chair of the City of San Diego’s Wetlands Advisory Board and Independent Rates Oversight Committee, and serves as chair of the Friends of Famosa Slough. Jim previously worked as a U.S. Navy civilian physicist and engineer for research laboratories on Point Loma in the fields of sonar systems, undersea warfare, and ocean engineering.

Banner photo by Sandeep Sandhar.