Wetlands and camplands not mutually exclusive in Mission Bay revitalization
by DAVE SCHWAB
Published - 10/21/16 - 03:26 PM | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Kendall-Frost Mission Bay Marsh Reserve is a 20-acre University of California Natural Reserve System on the northern shore of Mission Bay administered by UCSD.
The Kendall-Frost Mission Bay Marsh Reserve is a 20-acre University of California Natural Reserve System on the northern shore of Mission Bay administered by UCSD.
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Part of the ongoing discussion in the De Anza Revitalization Plan, a re-imagining of the development potential of that 120 acres in Mission Bay Park, is what to do about the Kendall-Frost marsh, a remnant of once much more extensive wetlands.

The Kendall-Frost Mission Bay Marsh Reserve is a 20-acre University of California Natural Reserve System on the northern shore of Mission Bay administered by UCSD.

In 1952, Lena Kendall and the A. H. Frost estate donated two parcels of the upper marsh to the University of California. In 1965, the site became one of the first seven reserves in the newly established Natural Lands and Water Reserve System.

The reserve protects some of the last remaining coastal salt marsh in Mission Bay, and is home to numerous bird species and other wildlife, including endangered species. The reserve ranges from high marsh to submerged shoreline and includes coastal salt marsh, mudflats, tidal channels and salt flats.

There are differing views on whether Kendall-Frost should be kept as is, enlarged, or even abandoned all together, as some fear proposed wetlands restoration there could jeopardize other uses of Mission Bay Park, most notably camping.

An organization know as Friends of Campland, has gone on record with a Facebook site, opposing wetlands restoration as currently envisioned.

Brian Curry, chair of the Pacific Beach Planning Group, said the community advisory group has taken no position on proposed wetlands restoration, “other than that we approve, in concept, the original Mission Gateway plan and public use of all public property, including De Anza.”

Personally, Curry believes “we should retain Campland (on the Bay) in its current location as the incredible cost to remove all of the camp land infrastructure (buildings, utilities, streets, asphalt, etc.) to accommodate more marshland has not been explored. If the current Campland is vacated for marsh, the City and Coastal Commission would likely require a low-cost housing alternative, such as camping, RVs, etc. as part of the new De Anza plan. By keeping Campland in its current location, more land would be available at De Anza for other public improvements.”

Curry's convinced that “additional investigations and/or alternatives should be explored for wetlands restoration.”

Campland on the Bay at 2211 Pacific Beach Drive, part of Mission Bay Park and a vacation spot for families and campers since 1969 overlooking Kendall-Frost, could be impacted in as-yet-unforeseen ways by regional park redevelopment in the De Anza Revitalization Plan.

Karin Zirk is a volunteer with Friends of Rose Creek, a volunteer group advocating turning lower Rose Creek into an open space park providing recreational and learning opportunities and a clean, healthy, aesthetically pleasing environment for all.

Zirk claims people opposing wetlands restoration aren't fully informed about the significance — and consequences — of not protecting the natural environment.

Zirk noted wetland marshes like Kendall-Frost, work much like the liver in a human body, to extract and cleanse impurities brought downstream, preventing them from polluting Mission Bay into which Rose Creek flows.

“Those pollutants go into the Bay where our children swim and play,” said Zirk, adding Kendall-Frost “provides some level of buffer to prevent that from happening. How much buffer depends on how big the wetlands are.”

Zirk noted two public processes are under way: Rewild Mission Bay seeking to restore up to 170 acres of wetlands in the area; and the De Anza Revitalization Plan, which seeks to explore, and ultimately develop, the full potential of that portion of Mission Bay Park.

Ideally, Zirk said the two projects, once successful, will significantly enlarge and add to Rose Creek and marsh wetlands, as well as reconnect all parts of the natural system making it whole once again.

“Studies have shown over and over that expanding existing marshland is much more successful than trying to create new marshland disconnected to any other marshland,” Zirk said.

For more information, visit nrs.ucsd.edu/reserves/kendall, missionbaymarshes.org, rewildmissionbay.org, and deanzarevitalizationplan.com.
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