Restoring Habitat and Building a Legacy of Stewards for the Otay River Valley
By Katie Westfall, WiLDCOAST Otay River Conservation Program Manager
WiLDCOAST is excited to have River Partners, an organization with an excellent track record for restoration, working to restore the wetland and riparian habitats of the Otay River Delta. This area provides key habitat for wildlife such the Peregrine falcon and the Quino checkerspot butterfly, but also represents one of the few places in south San Diego County where the public can recreate on trails alongside the natural wonders of a coastal refuge. At the junction of the mouth of the Otay River and the southern wetlands of the San Diego Bay, this is where the Bayshore Bikeway, a 24-mile bicycle trail around the San Diego Bay, will connect with 8-miles of multi-use trails up the riparian corridor of the Otay River Valley.
In addition to improving the quality of habitat for wildlife, this project will present opportunities for the local community to roll up their sleeves and get involved to reclaim the historically neglected Otay River Valley. WiLDCOAST will assist River Partners to involve community organizations, student groups, local residents, and others in the effort to restore the Otay River Delta. WiLDCOAST has been working to conserve and restore the Otay River Valley since 2008 and has worked with more than 750 volunteers to remove 4,000 pounds of trash, plant native plants, and remove invasive species, and has provided handson environmental education to more than 600 students.
The overall health of the Otay River Valley depends on a restored and resilient ecosystem. It also depends on community engaged in its stewardship for years to come. In this project, the local community will participate in this effort and learn about restoration while reclaiming some of the last remaining wetlands in a very urban south San Diego County.
About WiLDCOAST WiLDCOAST, with offices in Imperial Beach, CA and Ensenada, Mexico, is an international nonprofit organization whose mission is to conserve coastal and marine ecosystems and wildlife.