Otay Delta Habitat Restoration Breaks Ground With Celebration of Girl Scout Silver Award Project
July 14, 2012 – San Diego, Calif. – Together with community leaders and elected officials, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), River Partners and Girl Scout Troop #5912 celebrated the groundbreaking for the restoration of a portion of the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) and the completion of an educational wildlife mural. About 100 people attended the celebration at the South Bay Unit of the Refuge, including volunteers from River Partners, WiLDCOAST, and the California Conservation Corps.
Thanks to the USFWS and WiLDCOAST supporting River Partners' project, many community leaders participated in the ground breaking and mural celebration. They included Charles Eshaur from the San Diego Mayor's office, Councilmember Pamela Bensoussan of the City of Chula Vista, Andy Yuen of the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex, John Willett of the Otay Valley Regional Park Citizens' Advisory Group, David Neubert of River Partners, Jo Dee C. Jacob, CEO of Girl Scouts, San Diego-Imperial Council, and Joe Aguilar of Walmart. After the unveiling of a wildlife mural created by 10 scouts from Troop #5912 as a Silver Award project, these officials and community leaders planted the first trees for the project with the assistance from the Girl Scouts. By the end of the planting celebration, volunteers had installed 500 trees.
Over the next few weeks River Partners and the California Conservation Corp will put in 19,000 native trees, plants, and grasses on the 55-acre site. River Partners' re-vegetation design for the area includes native plants like Freemont cottonwood, coast live oak, elderberry, mulefat, and arroyo willow, among others. The goal is to provide habitat for listed species and migratory wildlife.
"We are extremely proud to begin the planting phase of this important project," says River Partners' President John Carlon. "This is the first project for our Otay River initiative. Not only will it provide critical habitat for the California Gnatcatcher and Least Bell's Vireo, it will also add vital green space to an extremely active public use area."
This effort to restore 55 acres of wildlife habitat has been funded by the California Wildlife Conservation Board, the California Natural Resources Agency and California Department of Transportation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The San Diego Foundation, the Resource Legacy Fund Foundation, and Walmart's Acres for America program through the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation. Additionally, WiLDCOAST and Friends of the Otay Valley Regional Park have led volunteer efforts to clean-up this critical site and support its restoration.
About River Partners
Founded in 1998, River Partners' mission has been to create wildlife habitat for the benefit of people and the environment. The organization has been recognized with numerous awards, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Environmental Restoration Leadership Award in 2004, the Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award in 2005, the James Irvine Leadership Award in 2007, the Floodplain Management Association's Award for Excellence in 2008, among others. River Partners has a successful track record of implementing more than $55 million in ecosystem restoration projects in critical floodplain areas. In this process the organization has installed more than one million trees and native plants and worked with virtually every state and federal agency involved in ecological restoration. River Partners is a leader in the field, continually developing new and innovative methods for large‐scale restoration. Its work spans 11 watersheds in California, including the Sacramento‐San Joaquin River System, San Diego's Otay River watershed, and the Lower Colorado River. River Partners is headquartered in Chico with offices in Modesto and San Diego County.
About the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge
The San Diego Bay NWR protects a rich diversity of endangered, threatened, migratory, and native species and their habitats in the midst of a highly urbanized coastal environment. Waterfowl and shorebirds over-winter or stop here to feed and rest as they migrate along the Pacific Flyway. Enhanced and restored wetlands provide new, high quality habitat for fish, birds, and coastal salt marsh plants, such as the endangered salt marsh bird's beak plant, or the Light-footed Clapper Rail. The San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge also provides the public with the opportunity to observe birds and wildlife in their native habitats and to enjoy and connect with the natural environment. Informative environmental education and interpretation programs expand the public's awareness of the richness of the wildlife resources of the Refuge. The Refuge serves as a haven for wildlife and the public to be treasured by this and future generations. For more information, please visit www.fws.gov/sandiegorefuges/South_bay.htm.
A PDF of this press release is available here.