USD awarded $400 thousand for coastal conservation efforts

Brooklyn Dippo | News Editor

With all of the storms have come rainbows and a pot of gold. In the middle of a destructive El Niño season in San Diego a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will help to conserve the San Diego coastline.

El Nino storms have eroded the California coastline, prompting conservation groups to be proactive.

El Nino storms have eroded the California coastline, prompting conservation groups to be proactive.

Over 130 proposals were submitted for Regional Coastal Resilience Grants from the NOAA and the University of San Diego’s proposal was one of only six recipients. The NOAA granted $408,000 to the project titled Connecting the Dots and Building Coastal Resilience in the San Diego Region.

Junior Mike Halamek is excited for the grant and hopes that part of it will go toward oceanic conservation, specifically improving water filtration before run off water is pumped back into the ocean.

“I think [the grant] is pretty rad as long as we use it for what it is supposed to be used for,” Halamek said. “I think it’s awesome we got that grant because our coastline is in dire need of some restoration and conservation so that it can be around for a long time to come.”

USD partnered with 14 other organizations for the project to protect 70 miles of coastline in San Diego County. Collectively they are known as the San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative and the partners include cities, researcher and science organizations, legal firms, and planning consultants.

The purpose of the grant is to help coastal communities prepare for and recover from extreme weather and ocean conditions. San Diego County is vulnerable to rising sea levels, coastal flooding, and extreme weather.

Junior Beau Skalley was impressed to hear that USD’s proposal was selected for funding. Similar to Halamek, he thinks that this is an opportunity to improve coastal communities and marine environments simultaneously.

“I think that it’s an awesome opportunity and a great way for USD to offset its carbon footprint and make an impact on an ever encroaching environmental problem along the overpopulated coastlines in places like San Diego,” Skalley said. “San Diego could use better infrastructure to diminish toxic runoff, too. Flooded streets close to the ocean is horrible for the ecosystem and fragile marine environments.”

The grant will fund information gathering as well as legal, scientific, and economic analyses of problems and possible solutions. They will combine their efforts with public communication to increase engagement in coastal resilience initiatives. Altogether, this should reduce vulnerability to harsh coastal conditions and heavy storms throughout San Diego county.

A strong El Niño has already impacted San Diego. The results of this grant should preserve the coastline that has drawn so many students to attend USD in the first place.