This Saturday, February 15th, is “Love Your Wetlands Day” in San Diego. A wetland is defined as a place that is usually wet either all the time or for part of the year. It can be both in freshwater and salt water in which San Diego has both. San Diego is lucky to have a lot of existing and restored wetlands to explore with a myriad of species ranging from ducks to sparrows foraging in and around the wet areas. Some examples include the San Diego River and the South Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Not all wetlands in San Diego are wet for most of the year, some, like vernal pools, are dry except during the rainy seasons.
The number of wetlands in California has severely declined over the last several decades. It is estimated that 75% of all wetlands in the state and 91% of San Diego Bay's wetlands have been destroyed. Many others in the county have been either destroyed or partially destroyed. The main cause of the decline is development. Though laws are in place to restrict and control development around wetlands, they can be affected indirectly. Development in a watershed such as dredging rivers and waterways upstream can have a devastating effect on wetlands downstream. Another problem in San Diego in the past was that many areas that were wetlands only part of the year were not recognized as wetlands until it was too late and they were destroyed. Nearly all of the vernal pool areas in San Diego, such as those in Kearny and Otay Mesas, were destroyed before they were recognized as being important plant and animal communities.
“Love Your Wetlands Day” celebrations will take place at the Kendall-Frost wetlands reserve in Mission Bay from 12 to 4 p.m. This reserve is located near Crown Point on the north side of Mission Bay. There will be tours of the marsh as well as work parties planting native plants. Be sure to wear work clothes, sunscreen, and bring water. All participants must sign a liability waver. For more information, visit http://missionbaymarshes.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.