It started in one little area in Rose Creek. Within a few minutes, the red water spread and started working its way to Mission Bay.
Scientists and researchers with the City of San Diego dumped several gallons of red dye in the water. They’re studying the flow of water through and around Mission Bay.
Environmental biologist Cheryl Jenkins said the dye will help them track where different types of water mix in the bay. Freshwater runoff comes through Rose Creek. Saltwater comes from the Pacific Ocean.
“We can determine what type of plants we want to use and where exactly we want to plant certain things,” said Jenkins.
She said the study is part of a much larger environmental project to improve water quality and restore wetlands along Mission Bay.
“We are hoping that we can help expand those wetlands in the future to help combat climate change, sea-level rise, those types of things,” she said.
“We need that kind of information if we’re going to embrace wetland restoration,” added Andrew Meyer, Director of Conservation for the San Diego Audubon Society.
Meyer said California has lost more than 90% of its coastal wetlands. He said that’s bad because wetlands benefit people and the environment.
“They provide water quality protection, the provide resilience to sea-level rise,” he explained. “They provide access opportunities that we don’t have anywhere else.”
Jenkins said the dye dropped in Mission Bay is non-toxic and won’t impact the water other than how it looks. She said it should be visible for a couple of days before it is diluted. Jenkins said the City of San Diego will use underwater sensing technology that will still be able to track the dye when it is not visible.