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February 04, 2017

San Diego’s Mission Bay Wetlands

In 1952 both the Kendall and Frost families donated lands to the University of California San Diego along with adjacent City of San Diego’s Northern Wildlife Preserve creates the only remaining saltwater wetland in Mission Bay Park.  These 40 acres remain of the thousands of acres originally here.

The Kendall-Frost Reserve is used to study the saltwater marsh wetland in Mission Bay.  Due to its fragile nature it is normally closed to the public.  The annual Love Your Wetlands Day is one of the very few times for the public to visit.
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Parking near the wetland can be iffy so I chose to walk over from DeAnza Cove.  Using the PB Pathway over Rose Creek to the marsh, which is just past Campland.
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From the viewing deck the natural drainage meanders to Mission Bay.  That’s Campland on the left and Mission Bay RV Park beyond.
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There are several booths offering information about the wetlands and ways to volunteer around Mission Bay.  I have joined with I Love a Clean San Diego on several occasions to pick up litter around Mission Bay.  Only once has a visitor ever said Thank You!

The folks, including myself, on the marshlands tour are provided with rubber boots.
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There are 6 panels of photos taken of various birds in the marsh.  The contest is to see how many you can name.  With all the San Diego Audubon members here I don’t have a chance, but the exhibits are very enlightening.
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And I learned a new piece of trivia!  I’ve wondered why the odd angles where Balboa meets Grand Avenue in Pacific Beach.  There was once a horse race track where the golf course is now, serviced by train.  The abandoned tracks are now Grand.
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I’m fortunate to be in the first group being led by David Kimball, the President of the local Audubon Society.  The non-native vegetation along Pacific Beach Drive quickly drops down in the swamp of the marsh.  The litter is washed in with the tide along this area.  It’s no problem to fill a bucket.
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Just as we are starting out an Osprey drops in to snag his early lunch.  David explains that was planned for our benefit Smile.  Although there are a lot of raptors that frequent the wetlands for a quick and easy meal.
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Along this side of Campland a drainage ditch has been built.  David asks for a volunteer to assist in gathering a water sample from the man-made canal.
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UCSD conducts various experiments and studies on the marsh.  The white post mark a test area.  The stakes below mark a study of marsh land shift.  The stakes were all set vertically in a straight line a decade ago.
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The natural drainage snakes its way to the bay, again a water sample is taken.  Care to guess which tested cleaner?
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There are a lot of snails and shells in the Salty Susan, with a closer look David points out the edible Pickleweed.  It does taste a bit like a pickle.
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Click on the image below for an interactive map of the Mission Bay Marsh Preserve.

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