I only lasted forty five minutes at the meeting by the bay even with my super squishy seat. When I stepped outside to let my hip become itself again, there were two boys playing by the edge of the water. Mission Bay, once called False Bay, was created in the fifties from the dredged San Diego River flood plain. No one thought of the migratory birds or the other wild life that used these filtration slough waters. They thought tourists and recreational facilities were far more important than smelly sloughs.
Today we have a beautiful water playground that causes me great guilt every time I see it or use it. At the far North end of the bay is an small experimental area that’s being returned to coastal wetland. I’m sure everyone laughed at the college students who started this. Not me, I had a great teacher about sloughs and protected species.
As Mike Clark, retired Biology teacher from Southwestern College, first to work to save tidal wetlands at the Tijuana Sloughs, he taught those around him why they were doing it. I was one of his eager listeners as was Paul Hawkins. We cleared trash, old tires, and filled in ditches as he called out a litany of the bugs and critters, the birds and mammals that lived and ate in these murky waters.
Perhaps someone else heard Mike’s teachings. Near our house, volunteers work to save a small bit of isolated Mission Bay. Seven acres at the north end of Mission Bay have now been returned to wetlands. As birds fly in to several more saved slough areas along our local rivers, they also now fly in to the tiny new Mission Bay wetland area.
Life is Really in the Footnotes: