WILDCOAST—an environmental nonprofit that works to protect and conserve coastal and marine ecosystems in California and Mexico—is now headquartered in Del Mar. Founded in 2000 by Dr. Serge Dedina—who now serves as executive director—and Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, WILDCOAST continues to carry out its original mission of conserving coastal and marine ecosystems but in response to the global climate crisis, has also focused on addressing climate change via natural solutions.
While WILDCOAST has long supported coastal salt marsh conservation and restoration in California, the nonprofit—with support from the California Ocean Protection Council—has expanded its portfolio of wetland restoration projects in the San Dieguito and Batiquitos lagoons.
“These North County projects,” said Dedina,“along with the support of two of our board members—Jill Gartman and Doug Sheres—prompted our move to Del Mar. We have also worked closely with the City of Del Mar’s Lagoon Committee on promoting natural climate solutions such as carbon storage via coastal wetland restoration—known as blue carbon—as a viable pathway for climate action planning in Del Mar and throughout California.”
WILDCOAST partners with UCSD’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography to determine the amount of carbon stored in coastal wetlands. Gathering samples of blue carbon in five San Diego County wetland provides data that is essential for conservation policy and restoration. WILDCOAST has also recruited hundreds of volunteers—including many in Del Mar—in removing invasive plant species and planting native plants in San Diego County wetlands.
Recent research has confirmed that blue carbon ecosystems, such as mangroves, can store up to five times more carbon than their terrestrial counterparts—including rainforests. WILDCOAST has been working to preserve more than 39,000 acres of mangrove forest in Northwest Mexico. In recognition of their innovative approach to reducing carbon emissions, WILDCOAST received the prestigious 2019 Keeling Curve Prize, named for Scripps Oceanography scientist and longtime Del Mar resident David Keeling. Keeling’s work in measuring carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere played an essential role in establishing the science of global warming.
WILDCOAST also currently helps to manage more than 500,000 acres of marine protected areas in California, which has helped to protect and restore fisheries resources. For more information on WILDCOAST and its local and international activities: wildcoast.org