August 1, 2013.
Boats, tires, batteries, metal containers, engines, and other debris are being pulled to the surface in South San Diego Bay, thanks to the efforts of the Port of San Diego.
An estimated 50 tons of debris from the bottom of the bay is being recovered and removed from the area known as the A-8 Anchorage.
The A-8 Anchorage was an unlimited, free anchorage established in the 1980s to accommodate up to 150 vessels at any one time. Unfortunately, over the years, many vessels within the anchorage area sank because of winds, storms, or simply because the vessels weren’t seaworthy.
The $219,500 project is 100 percent grant funded:
$120,000 in grant funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) marine debris removal program
$99,500 grant from the State Water Resources Control Board
A Port of San Diego tenant, Pacific Tugboat Service, was hired by the Port to handle the cleanup. Side-scan sonar was used to provide divers with a “road map” of the debris.
The first phase of the cleanup was initiated in 2008 with more than 315 tons of marine debris being removed from an 80-acre area using over $340,000 in grant funding and $50,000 from the Port of San Diego’s own Environmental Fund.
The current cleanup area expanded to 350-acres, all of which is within the Port of San Diego’s jurisdiction on San Diego Bay.
Some of the debris recovered since 2008 includes: 75 sunken vessels, 50- and 25-ton barges, batteries, engines, generators, fuel and other storage tanks, bicycles, various electronics, and a bathtub.
A recent survey of the A-8 Anchorage and surrounding areas found an additional 950 debris items, resulting in the current cleanup efforts, which started in June 2013. The work is expected to be completed by September 30, 2013.
The A-8 cleanup effort demonstrates the Port’s role as a trustee of San Diego Bay to protect and improve the quality of San Diego Bay’s water. In addition, removal of the debris will benefit the Bay’s natural resources by improving water quality and reducing the possibility of entanglement for the Eastern Pacific green sea turtle and the fish in the Bay.
About the Port:
The Port of San Diego is the fourth largest of the 11 ports in California. It was created by the state legislature in 1962. Since then, it has invested millions of dollars in public improvements in its five member cities – Chula Vista, Coronado, Imperial Beach, National City and San Diego.
The port oversees two maritime cargo terminals, two cruise ship terminals, 20 public parks, the Harbor Police Department and the leases of more than 600 tenant and sub tenant businesses around San Diego Bay.
The Port of San Diego is an economic engine, an environmental steward of San Diego Bay and the surrounding tidelands, and a provider of community services and public safety.