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San Luis Rey wetland mitigation bank breaks ground

Published Feb. 6, 2015
David Castanon, (left) chief of the Los Angeles District’s Regulatory Division, and Therese Bradford, chief of the District's South Coast Regulatory Branch, speak to representatives at the Feb. 6 groundbreaking for the San Luis Rey wetland mitigation bank near Bonsall.

David Castanon, (left) chief of the Los Angeles District’s Regulatory Division, and Therese Bradford, chief of the District's South Coast Regulatory Branch, speak to representatives at the Feb. 6 groundbreaking for the San Luis Rey wetland mitigation bank near Bonsall.

OCEANSIDE, Calif. – Representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers participated in a groundbreaking ceremony Feb. 6 near Bonsall for San Luis Rey wetland mitigation bank, an effort that will eventually restore about 54 acres of native floodplain wetland habitat along the river.

The mitigation bank is an aquatic resource habitat restoration and protection project developed to offset unavoidable permitted impacts to federal and state jurisdictional wetland and non-wetland habitat. Public and private development projects can mitigate their impacts by purchasing mitigation “credits” from the bank.

Joining the Corps in the ceremony were representatives from Wildlands Inc., the Wildlife Heritage Foundation, the City of Oceanside, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Davis Castanon, chief of the Los Angeles District’s Regulatory Division, said the groundbreaking is the result of a years-long effort.

“I’ve been waiting 25 years for something like this,” Castanon said. “We’ve always known we’ve preferred some sort of a landscaped watershed approach to mitigation instead of the small postage stamp effort that we have on permitting historically.  We’ve been pursuing this, advocating for it for a long time.”

“This in particular is very important because it’s part of the recovery plan for the southern steelhead and other endangered species issues,” Bradford chief south coast regulatory office, “but the hydrology and fixing the hydrology is really our focus.”