Loma Alta Slough in Oceanside. Photo credit: scwrp.org/

The National Fish & Wildlife Foundation awarded Oceanside’s water utilities department a $175,000 grant to assist with the city’s Loma Alta Slough wetlands project, officials said Thursday.

The project is intended to restore and enhance approximately six acres of coastal wetland and upland habitat near Buccaneer Beach in south Oceanside.

The award, a preliminary grant from the Foundation’s Coastal Resiliency Fund, will support the final design of the project. Grants are scheduled to be finalized in early 2021 and the project is scheduled is expected to begin construction in summer of 2021.

Features include more than 1,500 feet of new nature trails with educational signage and planned connections to nearby facilities.

The project is being designed with a focus on improvements to wetland water quality, storm-flow protection and wildlife habitat expansion. The project is currently in the preliminary design phase and has incorporated community input.

“The foundation’s award marks another important milestone for the city’s Green Oceanside program in promoting environmental protection and awareness,” said Cari Dale, Oceanside’s water utilities director.

The award complements an existing planning grant from the State Coastal Conservancy and will fund completion of ongoing engineering and permitting.

“We are excited to work with the foundation and citizens of Oceanside to restore the ecological and community value of the slough, as it’s an integral part of our local coastal wetland system,” said Justin Gamble, a senior environmental specialist.

The National Fish & Wildlife Foundation’s Coastal Resiliency Fund is a nationwide program. It funds projects that reduce impacts from storms and rising sea levels on nearby communities while also improving habitat quality and community engagement.

The Loma Alta Slough Wetlands Enhancement Project was one of 46 to receive awards in the 2020 grant cycle.

– City News Service

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