Wetlands Restoration Project Adds Visitor Service

July 14, 2009

July 14, 2009

San Dieguito Project Media Contact: Kelly Sarber, (760) 613-5994
Southern California Edison Media Contact: Gil Alexander, (626) 688-9562
San Diego Gas & Electric Media Contact: April Bolduc, (619) 929-5355

New Ranger Service Added Due to Wetlands Project’s Growing Popularity

DEL MAR, Calif., July 14, 2009 — As the San Dieguito Wetlands Restoration Project enters its final stages, project team members Southern California Edison (SCE) and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) have agreed to fund a new ranger service to be managed by the San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority. Uniformed rangers are being added to patrol the almost 500 acre site, providing education for the public, maintaining the new trail system and directing people to approved areas in order to protect sensitive habitats.

The additional project feature is an outgrowth of the growing number of visitors to the site. An unexpectedly large number of people are using the new trails and viewing the flourishing wildlife even though the project will not be complete until later this year.

“The response of the public to this oasis in an urban setting is very encouraging,” said Cecil House, senior vice president, safety, operations support and chief procurement officer. “We’ve created the ranger program because we want residents and tourists to be able to enjoy the new wetlands preserve without adverse impacts on our primary goal — creating a new habitat for coastal fish and birds.”

Several endangered migrant birds already have been spotted at the site, and new species are colonizing the wetlands more rapidly than predicted. Minimizing interference with these new residents and their habitat will be an important part of the project’s success. 

California Coastal Commission scientists independently have documented nature’s positive response to the new wetlands habitats. After opening the 43 acre, deep lagoon west of Interstate 5 to ocean tides on Jan. 23, 2008, the fish population went from zero to 12 million fish in less than seven months. And wildlife biologists have documented more than double the number of bird species on site this year. Bird species have increased from 59 to 158. 

The park’s master plan provides for public access through increased trail systems and wetlands education once the construction portion of the nature preserve is completed. 

“We truly appreciate the resources that both Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric bring to our goal of making the Coast to Crest Trail dream a reality,” said Dick Bobertz, executive director of the San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority.

Wetlands rangers will patrol during daylight hours throughout the nature preserve, providing visitors with maps, directions and general information. As the park trail system becomes operational, rangers will conduct pre-scheduled hikes available to the general public, schools, local environmental groups and park supporters. Subjects covered will include the value of wetlands, the fragile nature of the coastal ecosystems, wildlife and fish populations in the lagoons and the history and purpose of the newly restored San Dieguito wetlands.  

The goal of the San Dieguito Wetlands Restoration Project, along with two companion environmental projects, is to fully offset any adverse impact on ocean ecosystems caused by the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. SCE and SDG&E also hope to preserve, improve and create a variety of habitats in order to increase and maintain fish and wildlife and to ensure protection of endangered species.

Additional information about the San Dieguito Wetlands Restoration Project is available at www.sce.com/wetlands.

About Southern California Edison
An Edison International (NYSE:EIX) company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, serving a population of nearly 14 million via 4.9 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within Central, Coastal and Southern California.

About San Diego Gas & Electric
SDG&E is a regulated public utility that provides safe and reliable energy service to 3.4 million consumers through 1.4 million electric meters and more than 840,000 natural gas meters in San Diego and southern Orange counties. The utility’s area spans 4,100 square miles.  Exceptional customer service is a priority of SDG&E as it seeks to enhance the region’s quality of life. SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE:SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego.

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Wetlands Restoration Project Adds Visitor Service