Lower Rose Creek from the southern end of Marian Bear Natural Park to the border of Mission Bay Park should be dedicated parkland and serve as a wildlife corridor while providing a safe and accessible link for bicyclists and pedestrians to move between Rose Canyon Park, Marian Bear Park, Mission Bay Park, and the surrounding communities of Pacific Beach, Clairemont/Bay Ho/Morena, and University City.
Map of the proposed linear park along Lower Rose Creek – From Karl Strauss as indicated on the map south to Mission Bay Park is in scope.
Dedicate as open space parkland all City owned land along lower Rose Creek. Enter into memorandums of understanding with other property owners to include one unified management agency. The preference is for the City of San Diego’s Park and Rec Open Space Division, but any one managing agency would suffice provided they have a focus on recreation and habitat restoration.
This vision led to the formation of the Rose Creek Watershed Opportunities Assessment – a watershed based planning approached that the stakeholders hoped the City of San Diego would embrace. The full plan is available on-line at Opportunities Assessment with recommendations in the document available on-line. Please see section 2.5.5 Creating Safe and Legal Railroad Track Crossings staring on page 70 of the PDF document. In addition to the issue specifically outlined in this document, there is a serious need for a crossing at the foot of Jutland Street for both humans and wildlife.
The San Diego City Council accepted the plan on October 21, 2008. Parkland dedication for lower Rose Creek is only one of the goals and a number of other goals are included in the plan that will improve water quality in downstream water bodies such as Mission Bay.
Currently lower Rose Creek is owned by the City of San Diego Storm Water and Transportation Department, CALTRANS, San Diego Unified School District, the U.S. Navy, and other lesser property owners.
In 2011 and 2012, San Diego Canyonlands organized a massive parkland dedication process to convert San Diego’s Open Space Creeks and Canyons into Dedicated Parkland. The San Diego City Council with then Councilmember Kevin Faulconer wanted to include Rose Creek in the dedication, but due to a lack of Assessor Parcel Numbers was unable to do so at that time. The Friends of Rose Creek and Mr. Faulconer continued to move this priority ahead. The portion of Rose Creek from I-5 downstream has been designated as open space in the Pacific Beach Community Plan for over 20 years — but never formally recognized as such.
Why Parkland Dedication Matters
The ability to obtain grants for habitat restoration, pedestrian/bicyclist improvements, and such basics as trash cans with regular pickup are dependent on the granting agencies having confidence that the land will be part of an open space park system for generations to come. Funding habitat restoration only to have the habitat destroyed in a decade by a development project is pouring money down the drain.
Furthermore, even within the City of San Diego, on-going projects only express concern for “Dedicated Open Space and Parks and Recreation” properties. For example, the Draft Urban Forest Management Plan for the City of San Diego does address the impact of planting invasive and non-natives on our Open Space Parks. However, not all native habitat areas in the City are designated as an open space park. Nothing in the plan as written will prevent invasive tree species from being planted along lower Rose Creek in its current status. This issue applies to many other city owned lands that have not been formally dedicated as parkland. As the cost to purchase new parkland could be considered prohibitive in most areas of the City, protecting and preserving what we have now is key.
Some portion of the funds from Mission Bay Charter Amendment to use a portion of the leasehold funds towards maintaining Mission Bay Park (See draft amendment ) could be used to fund on-going maintenance projects in the Rose Creek Salt Marsh and Estuary
The Rose Creek Watershed Alliance has done preliminary work on the formation of a Maintenance Assessment District (MAD). However, the work has not come to fruition yet due to a lack of assistance from the City. As part of our comments to the Water Quality Improvement Plan project by the City’s Storm Water and Transportation Department, we have asked them to including funding the engineering work to move the MAD process forward. This will benefit the City by creating a permanent source of funding to maintain this critical natural resource and improve water quality both within all receiving waters in the watershed (a requirement from the California Regional Water Quality Control Board). The comments we submitted on January 29 to the Regional Water Quality Control Board included the following recommendation,
Pursuant to City policy 100-21, Funding for Maintenance Assessment District (MAD) Formation (http://www.sandiego.gov/park-and-recreation/pdf/madformationcouncilpolicy.pdf), we respectfully request support from Storm Water & Transportation to complete the efforts required to form a MAD in order to pay for improvement to the area which would have direct Water Quality Improvement Benefits. Works has been underway on this project for almost a decade and we would be happy to provide a status report on this effort upon request.
The water quality in Rose Creek is critical to protecting the water quality in Mission Bay Park. Furthermore, the health of Rose Creek is critical to other projects moving forward at the mouth of the creek such as the ReWild Mission Bay project, and the City of San Diego’s De Anza Natural. All three efforts should be considered together.