Council backs third MLPA option


Del Mar City Council has selected its preferred plan for the Marine Life Protection Act, one that has minimal impact to Del Mar.

Council members said they prefer “Option Three,” which offers strong protection in La Jolla and shifts the Marine Protected Area north of Del Mar to Swami’s. The San Diego Coastkeeper organization and Del Mar’s scientific advisory teams also prefer this option.

“We like proposal three because it doesn’t put our entire community in a protected area where we’re not sure what we can do,” said Mayor Crystal Crawford.

“We’re in favor of marine preservation and proposal three does the best job of meeting the goals of the MLPA, which is to preserve habitats and marine populations,” Councilmember Donald Mosier said.

The MLPA, passed by California legislature in 1999, requires the state to re-evaluate and re-design California’s system of marine protected areas. With the plans now narrowed down to three, the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force will select the preferred option at its meeting on Oct. 20 to 22 in Long Beach. Councilmember Mosier will attend. The task force’s decision will be submitted to California Fish and Game in December and implemented by 2011.

Written comments were due by Oct. 11, so City Council members wanted to get their word in about their preference for plan three.

At Monday’s meeting, they expressed worries about what the other options could mean for Del Mar. In proposal one, three miles of Del Mar shore would be in the MLPA, as well as San Dieguito and San Elijo Lagoon. In proposal two, most of Del Mar is included as well as the San Dieguito Lagoon.

Taking of all living marine resources are prohibited in the designated MLPA areas, although spear-fishing of pelagic fish would still be allowed at Swami’s.

Beach grooming could be prohibited, meaning no sand dredging or sand replenishment, which is critical to Del Mar to preserve its sandstone bluffs, which could crumble without it, Mosier said.

The inability to dredge at the San Dieguito River mouth would put the $83 million San Dieguito Lagoon restoration project in jeopardy as well, Crawford said. She said without dredging at the river mouth, the lagoon could die off and the fish population could be depleted again.

“We need to ensure that we have permits for dredging at the river mouth in perpetuity,” Crawford said. “That needs to work.”

Deputy Mayor Richard Earnest said he was frustrated about how the MLPA worked, calling it perverse and bizarre that “marine protection” is in the MLPA’s name but it inserts regulations that could kill marine life.

According to the MLPA’s plan one and two descriptions, they might allow some wiggle room on those regulations.

“It is our intent to ensure that the city of Del Mar is able to continue beach replenishment ad dredging activities in the same locations and periodicity that they have been doing for years,” read the MLPA report. “Restoration projects such as the North park restoration project should be allowed to continue with appropriate permitting.”

The same was said for the lagoon dredging.

Written comments will be accepted until midnight on Oct. 11. Send comments to