In the northwest corner of Mission Bay, residents celebrated the 11th annual Love Your Wetlands Day by taking a little trek through the Kendall-Frost Marsh Preserve – the last remaining 40 acres of what used to be 4,000 acres of wetlands.
The marsh is off-limits to the public 364 days a year, for the protection of the wildlife and plants, including several federal and state listed endangered species.
“So it’s kind of that stronghold of natural habitat here in the bay. The existing marsh is so small and so threatened that we don’t really have a lot of opportunities for people to get out into it,” Director of Conservation for San Diego Audubon, Rebecca Schwartz Lesberg, says.
With the project ReWild Mission Bay San Diego Audubon hopes to restore up to 170 acres of wetlands in the bay.
“We would love to have people here every day,” Lesberg says. “Right now the marsh exists behind a chain-link fence, and there are people who live a couple blocks away who don’t know there’s a wetland here, and that’s a problem. People need access to nature, and the wetlands need advocates. So if we could expand the marsh and have people out here every day on boardwalks, overlooks, it would really benefit both the habitat and our community.”
Wetlands provide stopover points for migratory birds, nursery habitat for fish, and filter out pollutants in water that comes through the watershed before it gets to the bay. They also stabilize the coastline by acting like a sponge during high tide to protect it from storm surges.
The Kendall-Frost Reserve represents the last five percent of wetlands that used to be in Mission Bay.
To learn more about the marsh go to ReWild Mission Bay’s website.