DATE: February 10, 2004
TO: Board of Supervisors
SUBJECT: SAFEGUARDING THE HEALTH OF SAN DIEGO BAY
San Diego Bay is the heart of San Diego County. Its 23 square mile area and 27 miles of shoreline are vital environmental, economic and national security resources for San Diego County and the nation. San Diego Bay is the center of our region’s tourism industry, which generates $5 billion annually. The Bay is also home to three major shipyards and numerous boatyards and marinas and is the largest homeport of the US Pacific Fleet. Situated entirely in the First Supervisorial District, this major resource impacts our entire region in so many ways, the environmental health of San Diego Bay is of vital importance to tourism, recreation and our residents’ quality of life.
On September 24, 2003, the Governor signed into law Senate Bill 68 (Alpert) calling for the creation of the San Diego Bay Advisory Committee for Ecological Assessment. The San Diego Bay Advisory Committee for Ecological Assessment was created to provide an evaluation of historic data and trends in the overall health of San Diego Bay and report its findings to the Legislature, The San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board, the State Water Resources Control Board and the California Coastal Commission. The Committee is comprised of representatives of local governments surrounding the Bay and a broad spectrum of environmental and business organizations interested in the Bay’s ecological health. The legislation requires the San Diego Unified Port District to staff the committee.
SUPERVISOR GREG COX
- Approve the participation of the County of San Diego in the San Diego Bay Advisory Committee for Ecological Assessment.
- Authorize the First District Supervisor to nominate for our Board’s approval a recreational boat owner to the San Diego Bay Advisory Committee for Ecological Assessment as specified in the enabling legislation.
- Direct the Chief Administrative Officer to appoint a water quality expert on County staff as the County’s technical representative.
There is no fiscal impact associated with this recommendation. The San Diego Unified Port District will provide staff to the Committee and will administer the grants made to the Committee.
San Diego Bay is the economic and environmental hub of the region. It sustains sea life and waterfowl, is an attraction for boaters, sightseers and tourists and is a conduit through which commerce-laden ships and warships pass to the world beyond. Industrial and recreational uses have contributed to the decline of the environmental health of the Bay along with storm water runoff from watershed sources upstream. Numerous studies and surveys of the Bay’s waters have been conducted over the past decades, however, the regulatory framework for the Bay does not adequately address basic macrolevel ecosystem matters such as the overall health of the Bay. According to SB 68 the framework does not provide a baseline to evaluate the need for additional regulation of the Bay.
San Diego County First District Supervisors have a history of involvement in water quality issues in San Diego Bay as well as active interaction with the San Diego Unified Port District. It comes as no surprise that the County would be given a vote in this effort to monitor the Bay.
On September 24, 2003, the Governor signed into law Senate Bill 68 (Alpert) calling for the creation of the San Diego Bay Advisory Committee for Ecological Assessment. The Committee will undertake an independent assessment of San Diego Bay, providing an evaluation of historic data and trends in the overall health of San Diego Bay and report its findings to the Legislature, The San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board, the State Water Resources Control Board and the California Coastal Commission. The report is due to the Legislature by December 31, 2005.
The Chair of the San Diego Unified Port District will chair the San Diego Bay Advisory Committee for Ecological Assessment, which will be composed as follows:
The following entities may each appoint one representative to the committee:
The San Diego City Council
The City of Chula Vista
The City of Coronado
The City of Imperial Beach
The City of National City
The Environmental Health Coalition
The San Diego Baykeeper
The San Diego Audubon Society
The San Diego Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation
The Sierra Club
The San Diego Port Tenants Association
The Industrial Environmental Association
The San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau
Scripps Institute of Oceanography
City of San Diego Metropolitan Wastewater Joint Powers Authority
The California Coastal Commission
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors has been asked to appoint
representatives to the committee. The legislation requires that one of
the persons appointed be a recreational boat owner who resides in San
Diego County. It is my expectation that our Board will select a
recreational boater with some demonstrated expertise in water quality
The following entities may each appoint one nonvoting member to the committee:
The United States Navy
The Department of Fish and Game
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service
The National Marine Fisheries Service
The University of California and California State University at San Diego may each appoint one non-voting member.
San Diego Bay is a precious natural resource that we need to protect, while simultaneously protecting commerce, recreation and national security. The San Diego Bay Advisory Committee for Ecological Assessment, by its legislative mandate, will establish the framework to preserve and protect the Bay based on the best science. I urge your support of these actions.
Supervisor, First District