The Living Coast Discovery Center, formerly known as the Chula Vista Nature Center will close its doors beginning October 28th unless it can raise $200,000. If they are unable to raise funding by December 1st, they will close their doors permanently and rehome their animals and plants to other locations.
The Living Coast Discovery Center first opened at Gunpowder Point in Chula Vista in 1987 and was originally run by the city and was once free, though donations were accepted. In 2009, the city ceased to fund the center almost closing it down. It was re-opened when it was set up as a non-profit organization and ran mostly on fees and donations, including sizeable donations from SDG&E. This year, the utility company pledged to donate 2 million dollars to help fund the center along with other donations to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Sweetwater Marsh to mitigate their work with undergrounding power lines and other projects related to the decommissioning of the South Bay power plants. However, the California Public Utilities Commission declined the proposal because they felt that the impacts of the projects weren’t significant enough to warrant the donations.
Each year, the center hosts tens of thousands of tourists and school children each year who have viewed local native species up close in an interactive manner. Facilities include a petting tank, shark tank, walk-in aviaries and raptor aviaries. They have a clapper-rail aviary where young clapper rails were raised until they were ready to be put in a pre-release pen. The walk-in aviaries allowed people to get close to ruddy ducks, a friendly mallard, ibises, snowy egrets, and other birds not normally seen close-up. Some of the animals have lived in this aviary for much of their lives.
The center encourages people to send in donations and contact media and government officials to help spread the word and work out a solution. Current members may receive a pro-rated refund of their membership, but are encouraged to keep their membership to help with relocating animals and plants. Call 619-409-5900 for more details. The Living Coast Discovery Center’s mailing address is 1000 Gunpowder Point, Chula Vista, CA 91910.