Friday, July 13, 2012

The turtles' home is closer to getting a new look: Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan moves forward

Long-time followers of this blog will recall that initial focus was on the sea turtles of San Diego - as representatives of the coastal and marine environment of the South San Diego Bay - and their interaction with the South Bay Power Plant (SBPP) now and into the future. Primarily, when this blog began, the SBPP was still operating, but it was understood that the plant would be shut down in the near future, and looking forward, the type of development which took place on the land surrounding and then-occupied by the SBPP could greatly impact the incredible and often under-valued environment - including the sea turtles of San Diego and their fellow marine and coastal critters and habitats.

Understanding and incorporating the philosophy that the maximum benefit - yes, even economic benefit - can be realized through a mutualistic approach to development where both the environment and the economy are given priority, was the perspective hoped for to be held by planners, developers, and all stakeholders involved in the Chula Vista Bayfront redevelopment.  Over the past 10 years, many groups, companies and public officials have been involved in the ongoing process, and it appears that a fairly good balance of economic opportunity and environmental value has been incorporated into this plan.

And just this month, the development plan, termed the "Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan," has received approval by local agencies, groups and stakeholders and is awaiting approval by the California Coastal Commission as the next step in the process. This will likely take place this summer.

The Port of San Diego's website has a section devoted to the project, and another site dedicated to the CV Bayfront project is also available to those interested to learn more. The background section of this site has a link to the full Environmental Impact Statement, Fact and FAQ sheets, and helpful illustrative images of the plan which are shown below.

On initial glance, the plans look well conceived, largely due to the years of stakeholder involvement, and appear to provide good public access to the waterfront, and provide protection and buffer to much of the sensitive, beautiful, and valuable coastal environment - including the home of our San Diego sea turtles.

Continued involvement by concerned citizens and groups, and support by attentive representatives, will be necessary to make sure that responsible development and planning continues, so that our community will be able to gain the maximum amount of value from this wonderful resource in our collective backyard.

Image of South San Diego Bay natural resources - Google Earth, habitats from Port of San Diego, primary sea turtle monitoring site also marked. A second image is also below with the habitat overlay removed. Google Earth aerial images from 8/23/2010.

Image of Illustrative Land Use Plan - also available for download online.

Image of Ecological Resource Illustrative Plan - also available online.