Red dye release area
Map shows area of red dye release. Courtesy of the city

The city of San Diego planned to release fluorescent red dye into Mission Bay on Friday to study water circulation as part of a larger environmental study.

Data from the movement of the dye will help the city plan future water quality improvements and ecological restoration projects in the bay. 

The nontoxic dye will be visible for about a week. It is made of rhodamine and is safe for use in drinking water and salt water.

The dye will naturally become absorbed into the bay and is not expected to leave any residue on beaches or have any other long-term effects.  

Public recreation and use of Mission Bay will not be restricted during or following the dye release. It will be safe to continue water contact recreation activities during this study. 

“We want to assure the public that even though the red dye may be visible at first, it is completely safe and won’t have any long-term effects on the environment,” said Keli Balo, assistant deputy director of the city’s Public Utilities Department. “The water circulation data we collect will help us improve Mission Bay and give us a tool to protect it for future generations of San Diegans.” 

The dye will be released into the Rose Creek inlet to the bay from the Mike Gotch Memorial Pedestrian Bridge between Campland on the Bay and De Anza Cove. The movement of the dye will be recorded using visual and drone surveys. 

This water circulation study is part of the city’s Northeast Mission Bay Wetland Restoration Supplement Environmental Project and will provide data about the dispersion of contaminants that enter Mission Bay from Rose Creek. 

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.