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Stuck On NO
Ann Gardner | Via Latina


Photo Ann Gardner.
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Despite almost 600 signatures and numerous letters, the Coastal Commission biologist has not changed his mind about removing the Boardwalk along the San Dieguito River beginning at Jimmy Durante Blvd., and the Commission District Manager has informed the River Park that an amendment to Phase II of the Fairgrounds wetlands restoration permit would be required to keep it as a permanent use. The Boardwalk, according to the Commission was approved as an interim use only, and is not part of the approved wetlands restoration plan Phase I now taking place on the Fairgrounds South Overflow Lot (SOL). The Commission is supporting the biologists position that the walkway introduces human disturbance to the habitat particularly birds in restored wetlands - despite testimony and examples to the contrary.

The statement that “birds are especially sensitive to activity that is above them…”according to Dr. Philip Pryde, Past Chair, San Diego Chapter of Audubon Society, “is an overly-broad generalization and is not necessarily correct in the context of water birds. Far from maximizing disturbance to the habitat, properly constructed boardwalks (such as the River Park Boardwalk) can provide a useful protective service. I have visited (similar) sites…and have seen for example Clapper Rails and other wetland birds saunter beside and under boardwalks quite unconcerned about visitors above,” he wrote to the Commission.

“We appreciate (there are) questions for each of the respective parties and would recommend we meet in the near future to discuss and respond to any identified issues. We will commit our staff resources to resolve this matter in an expeditious fashion and support the completion of the SOL restoration work,” the District Manager said in her May 23rd letter. See our May article and if you haven’t already done so, you can still sign the petition at www. delmarsandpiper.org/#boardwalk.



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