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Walk on The Block
Yet Again!

Ann Gardner | Via Latina

Courtesy San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy
Click to enlarge.

The volunteer-built Boardwalk on the north side of the San Dieguito River at Jimmy Durante Bridge is on the California Coastal Commission chopping block again. Commission staff continues to recommend that the wooden platform from which walkers can view birdlife in the River be either removed or relocated along Jimmy Durante Blvd. The reason: “habitat protection” within the recently restored South Overflow Lot, commonly known as the Pork Chop. “If allowed to remain in its current location, the boardwalk…would not only bisect the restoration site but would …introduce significant human interaction that could further degrade the biological productivity within the …site.”

The San Dieguito River Park, the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy, the cities of Del Mar and Solana Beach, the Audubon Society and the 22nd Agricultural District which runs the Fairgrounds and is responsible for the restoration, disagree. They note that wooden walkways are common in numerous lagoon and river reserves and even provide sheltered habitat for birds that seek protection from predators, including the endangered Clapper Rail. The River Park’s Citizen Advisory Committee has expressed dismay at naturalists and children having to join cars and buses along Jimmy Durante Blvd. rather than experiencing bird habitat up close. Park staff noted that the boardwalk was designed to minimize habitat impact.

Originally scheduled to be heard by the Coastal Commission in 2014 the issue was moved to January 2015 to get more citizen input and then to this month to accommodate local speakers. You can help keep the Boardwalk by going to the Conservancy website at www.sdrvc.org to 1) sign the Save the Boardwalk petition 2) get additional information on how to 3) write the Commission and 4) speak at the Coastal Commission meeting in Chula Vista on March 12 -13. The Conservancy will post the exact date and time as information is available.


 

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