Zirk is a mythologist, writer and database administrator, and a member of the Friends of Rose Creek group. She lives in Pacific Beach.
At Mission Bay Park, the City of San Diego has the opportunity to create a public park that is ready for the next 100 years and not blocked for the last 100 years. The city must transform Mission Bay, which welcomes 15 million visitors each year to its 27 miles of coastline and is home to at least 144 species of birds and 56 species of plants. The city must prioritize a restored and connected wetland and dramatically improve our recreation and access possibilities by providing true access, including low cost camping and new recreational activities along the shores of an area wet restored and lively with walks, group camping and blue runs. for the kayaks and paddleboards that connect Rose Creek to the bay.
As late as the 1930s, the mouth of Rose Creek was part of a vast estuarine complex with a habitat of salt marshes and mudflats home to thousands of migratory birds and providing the foundation for the life we depend on for. commercially important fish like the California halibut and our sport fishing industry.
For the past 100 years or so, the people of San Diegan have been at odds with natural processes by altering the terrain and burning fossil fuels. These are expensive and harmful choices. Our decisions have created climatic crises, monstrous forest fires, gigantic storms and widespread flooding across the country. No part of San Diego is immune to these disasters. The cost to our economy is catastrophic. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, from 1980 to July 9, the United States spent nearly $ 2,000 billion in Consumer Price Index-adjusted dollars on the 298 natural disasters that exceeded $ 1 billion. dollars per incident, with costs skyrocketing since 2010 The real costs to communities are much higher. From lost lives, homes and livelihoods to the psychological and social toll of repeated man-made “natural disasters”, the status quo must change.
In the decades after 1930, Rose Creek was forced into a concrete channel, straightened out, and blocked off from its floodplain. Instead of depositing sediment and nutrients on salt marshes and mudflats where they would be part of the food chain, they are dumped into the open waters of Mission Bay. Millions of people who swim in Mission Bay immerse themselves in urban runoff that contains motor oil, brake dust, fertilizers, pesticides, droppings and more. Not a pretty picture. Then the city spends millions of dollars to dredge this sedimentation and dump it elsewhere. Water pollution discourages tourism, hurting many of our local small businesses and our economy in general.
Fortunately, there is a cost-effective Rose Creek Mouth Climate Healing Project started by the San Diego Audubon Society to advocate for the restoration of swampy wetlands in the northeast corner of Mission Bay. When protected or restored, blue carbon ecosystems, such as intertidal wetlands, sequester and store carbon. In fact, saltwater marshes sequester carbon even more efficiently than ancient tropical rainforests. Restoring the maximum area of wetlands in this area, as identified by the San Diego Audubon Society’s “ReWild Mission Bay” project and its coalition partners can help strengthen our city’s climate action plan. using nature to solve a man-made problem.
I am counting on our city’s leadership to prioritize wetland restoration and ecotourism in the next plan for the northeast corner of Mission Bay at the mouth of Rose Creek. Hopefully, 100 years from now people will remember how the vision of restoring the Rose Creek Wetlands has created a thriving place where Indigenous Kumeyaay communities connect to their heritage, residents and visitors of all ages discover. the wonders of wetland habitat and the wildlife it supports, and the City of San Diego has shown leadership in the movement to work with nature to mitigate the impacts of climate change for cost-effective solutions that vastly improve human life by connecting us to the natural world.