On February 24, 2021, the city of Oceanside, California was notified that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service had selected the Loma Alta Slough Wetlands Enhancement project for a $1 million federal grant to construct the ecological restoration project’s first phase.
The Loma Alta Slough Wetlands Enhancement project will restore and enhance six acres of coastal wetland and upland habitat near Buccaneer Beach in south Oceanside.
Planned features include four acres of newly created habitat, over 1,500 feet of nature trails with educational signage and planned connections to nearby facilities.
Key design benefits include improvements to wetland water quality, storm flow protection and wildlife habitat expansion. The project has been in development since 2018 and is community-driven, incorporating thorough public input into the design process.
The project is currently progressing through final design and permitting under separate State and Federal funding sources, including a grant from the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation awarded to the City in December of 2020. To date, the project’s design costs have been 100% grant-funded.
“Following years of conceptual planning, the award from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service sets the stage to make the restoration of Loma Alta Slough a reality. This award, under partnership with the State Coastal Conservancy, is a testament to the City’s efforts to protect our local waterways, provide outdoor experiences for our community, and ensure long-term resiliency for coastal infrastructure,” said Cari Dale, Oceanside Water Utilities Director.
The award complements previously awarded grants, bringing a total of $1,635,000 dedicated to the project. Final design, environmental compliance and permit acquisition is expected to be complete later this year, with Phase 1 construction slated for late 2022.
The award is issued through the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation grant program, a nationwide competitive solicitation that funds projects that protect, restore and enhance coastal wetland ecosystems. The Federal award funds will be passed through the State Coastal Conservancy to the City to implement the project.
“We appreciate the Fish & Wildlife Service for recognizing the merits of this project as both an environmental asset to the City and as an important link in regional efforts to restore wetlands along California’s coast,” said Justin Gamble, the City’s project manager.
The City’s Green Oceanside program, which promotes environmental protection and awareness, will be overseeing implementation of the project.
The National Coastal Wetlands Conservation grant is a nationwide program that contributes towards projects that protect, restore and enhance coastal wetland ecosystems. Funds originate from the Department of the Interior through taxes collected from the sale of fishing equipment, boats and motorboat fuels under the Sport Fish Restoration Act of 1950. The Loma Alta Slough Wetlands Enhancement Project was one of 33 projects awarded nationwide in the 2021 grant solicitation, out of a $27 million total awarded.
Photo courtesy of the Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project (SCWRC).