By Tommy Hough
You could say it's a big deal.
Following two hours of supportive public testimony on Wednesday, the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board voted in a unanimous 6-0 decision to approve a proposed Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) that will enable, at last, the "Wildest" plan for wetland restoration in northeast Mission Bay to be considered at the same level as the city's own plan.
The culmination of a two-year effort by the ReWild Coalition since the release of our Wetland Restoration Feasibility Study in Sept. 2018, water board chair Henry Abarbanel said, "This is more than a SEP, it's an approval of a goal." We agree.
Board members noted during the meeting they were impressed with the number of supporters who spoke (we had over 30), and that the enthusiastic turnout gave them confidence to support the SEP proposal knowing our ReWild Coalition members would be following the process through to completion. And seeing things through to completion is, indeed, the next step.
As San Diego Audubon Society conservation director and ReWild Mission Bay campaign director Andrew Meyer said, "This is a big win for the campaign and the 46 members of the ReWild Coalition. But while this enables the city to create a new alternative with more wetland in the ongoing De Anza planning process, it doesn't guarantee the city will choose it. That's where our focus has to go next."
Bringing the fight back to City Hall will also bring our effort before some new faces, including a new mayor and a new city council in December. We'll keep at it, and we'll reach out again soon enough on how you can help.
Thank you to EVERYONE, our supporters and all of our ReWild Coalition members and representatives who made time to dial in on Zoom or on the telephone and testify, and thank you to everyone who stayed with us throughout the morning until our item came up on the agenda. We know it was a long wait.
Photo courtesy of Everest Environmental Inc.
A former San Diego broadcaster and media personality, Tommy Hough is a wilderness and conservation advocate, communications professional, California Democratic Party delegate, and the co-founder and former president of San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action.