The next chapter in the San Diego Bay sediment cleanup has begun. The Shipyards are finally preparing to begin dredging by applying for permits that would allow the dredging to go forward. On Monday, June 25, I, along with the help of student attorney Courtney Cole, submitted comments to the Regional Water Quality Control Board on the proposed water quality permit. At the same time, we have developed suggestions on how to improve the proposed safeguards to protect water quality during the dredging. We are also working with Regional Board staff and some Shipyard representatives to ensure that the dredging is done in a way that contains pollutants and protects San Diego Bay water quality. The Regional Board hearing on the permit is set for Wednesday, July 10th at 9am.
The endangered San Diego fairy shrimp is in a fight for survival, and two San Diego area projects plan to destroy the rare shrimp and its vernal pool habitat. On June 13 and 20th, student attorney Morgan Embleton and I asked the City of San Diego Planning Commission to delay approval of the Brown Field Metropolitan Airpark project in Otay Mesa until the City of San Diego finishes its planning process to protect vernal pool habitat. The Planning Commission sent the project, which would destroy four vernal pools and their resident fairy shrimp, forward to San Diego City Council despite the fact that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has not yet approved killing the fairy shrimp or decided whether vernal pool creation is feasible mitigation. The Castlerock project, a monstrous housing development in San Diego and Santee, will come before the Planning Commission on July 11th. It also proposes to destroy four vernal pools and fairy shrimp, without examining the cumulative impact of these projects on the San Diego fairy shrimp.