WRA Co-Presenting at the California Estuarine Research Society Conference 2023

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The California Estuarine Research Society (CAERS) Conference will be held April 20-21, 2023 in Costa Mesa, California. This meeting provides an engaging and friendly environment for networking among academic researchers, students, managers and other practitioners, and for presenting estuarine and coastal themed research.

WRA Southern California Natural Resource Director Mike Nieto will co-present with Joseph Rivera of the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy. The talk, “It’s the hard knock life: challenges and opportunities in restoring orphaned fragmented coastal wetlands in southern California” is scheduled for Friday, April 21 at 9:45 am.

Abstract: This presentation shares the results of a multi-disciplinary approach for solving some of the toughest conservation challenges around: fragmented coastal wetlands in South California. With large tracks of coastal wetland systems in southern California either completely developed or crisscrossed by utility/transportation easements, housing development and infrastructure, many smaller coastal wetlands have been left “orphaned” and isolated from tidal influence, restoration focus, public attention, and funding sources. Without support, these fragmented wetlands are fated to slowly succumb to the threats of sea level rise, invasive species, and unauthorized human uses. The San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy (SDRVC) organized a team of experts in coastal hydrology, habitat restoration, planning, regulatory permitting, as well as land managers and municipal staff to use an iterative design charrette approach to look at a variety of restoration options for three fragmented wetland parcels in the San Dieguito River watershed. The group produced a series of designs within a spectrum of price points and permitting complexity highlighting expected ecological functional lift as a function of overall cost to provide the Conservancy with a menu of restoration designs for use in tailored grant acquisition. While the design charette approach was both time and labor intensive, the open, collaborative structure between technical experts and land managers produced flexible, high-quality designs to face sometimes overwhelming conservation challenges.

To learn more about the case study, visit our project page.