Wildcoast brings conservation efforts to Del Mar community

Wildcoast brought together several local organizations and volunteers to help restore blue carbon at River Path Del Mar.

With its main office in Del Mar, the nonprofit Wildcoast wants to bring the community into its conservation work.

“Because Del Mar is really the backyard of the work that we’re doing, we’ve decided to move all our operations to Del Mar,” said Mary Liesegang, blue carbon conservation manager. “We’ve had that office for about two years, and it will now be our main office in California. We’re really excited because we have restoration sites walking distance away from our office and are really able to take advantage of all the projects that we’re doing in North County.”

Last month, Wildcoast worked with several local organizations and community volunteers to restore blue carbon habitat at the River Path Del Mar. Blue carbon is carbon captured by ocean and coastal ecosystems.

According to a Wildcoast news release, these wetlands in Del Mar and the surrounding area are natural climate solutions, and Wildcoast wants to help the community understand their value.

The nonprofit has existed since 2000, and has 23 conservationists working in California and Mexico who help protect nearly 60,000 square miles of coastal and ocean habitat. Preserving the remaining 10% of California’s wetlands is one of the group’s top priorities, along with restoring degraded wetlands.

“We conserve the habitat that the really important animals and flora and fauna are living in, which then has a trickle-down effect and also conserving those species,” said Liesegang, whose love of the ocean stems from snorkeling during childhood trips to Hawaii. “And then address climate change through natural solutions, so looking at letting nature be nature and really thrive and do what it does best.”

Wildcoast launched the Blue Carbon Collaborative to bring leaders from all over the world together on efforts to support work related to blue carbon.

“I’m able to really work locally and see the projects that we’re implementing right in our own backyard,” said Liesegang, who grew up in Encinitas. “I’m born and raised in San Diego, so seeing these spaces that I’m so familiar with being degraded is obviously not ideal. Through my job, I’m able to help take a step toward restoring and conserving these spaces that I’ve enjoyed for so long and I want future generations to be able to enjoy.

“This is our backyard, this is really our home,” she added. “Being able to protect these ecosystems that are really important ecologically, but also important for residents to enjoy, is really what we’re trying to do.”

For more information, visit wildcoast.org.