Carlsbad desalination mitigation plan for wildlife approved

The California Coastal Commission has unanimously approved Poseidon Resources’ proposal to restore coastal wetlands in south San Diego County’s Otay River floodplain as part of the Carlsbad desalination project.

As a requirement of the company’s coastal development permit, Poseidon had to prepare a Marine Life Mitigation Plan to address potential impingement and entrainment impacts to marine life that might occur during the lifetime of the desalination plant.

Poseidon’s proposed 66-acre (26.7 ha) restoration site is located in the South San Diego Bay Unit of the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge and is part of an ongoing restoration effort by the US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS). The wetlands restoration site is managed and owned or leased by the FWS exclusively for restoration of coastal wetlands and associated uplands.

Poseidon and the FWS are entering into a partnership to facilitate the restoration and enhancement of wetlands. The commission’s approval of the wetlands restoration site clears the way for Poseidon and the USFWS to prepare environmental studies and a final project design.

Poseidon vice president and project manager Stan Williams, announcing the commission’s decision on 9 February 2011, said, “Poseidon has extensively studied the feasibility of the site in the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge, and the commission’s decision to provide for wetlands restoration within the refuge will provide measurable environmental benefits. We look forward to working with the community on the final restoration project design.”