Map courtesy

Crews Thursday will begin dredging Mission Bay to help make it easier and safer for boats to navigate.

It’s been nearly five decades since the last major dredging of the bay. The operation is necessary because years of boating, storms and water currents have rendered the floor of the bay uneven. The dredging will restore the floor to its original elevation, according to the city.

The operation will be completed primarily with cranes mounted on barges that will excavate sections of the bay floor and deposit the material onto boats. The sand, mud and organic material will then either be deposited into other locations in the bay or used to restore beaches along Crown Point and Vacation Island, according to the mayor’s office.

The city estimates that the 64-acre dredging will yield 122,000 to 220,850 cubic yards of material.

“Preserving and protecting our environment is part of San Diego’s DNA and projects like this will help conserve our beaches and bays for the next generation,” said Mayor Kevin Faulconer. “Mission Bay is one of our most precious natural resources, enjoyed by residents and visitors alike, so it’s important we take the necessary steps to safeguard its future.”

Up to 70 acres of eelgrasss will be replanted in various locations to help minimize impacts to marine life.

During the work, which is expected to end in October, some beaches and sections of the bay will be closed. Residents are urged to keep a safe distance from equipment at all times, the mayor’s office said.

Some 15 million people each year visit Mission Bay Park, which is the largest aquatic park of its kind in the U.S., according to the city.

—City News Service