Lake Murray. Photo courtesy City of San Diego

Two environmental improvement projects at Lake Murray will enhance fisheries, improve water quality in the San Diego River and reduce wildfire vulnerability for the area.

Over the next six months, the Urban Corps of San Diego County will remove non-native plants and trees along Airoso Avenue to Murray Dam as part of the Chaparral Canyon Habitat Restoration Project.

The removal of invasive plants and subsequent native habitat restoration will improve water quality in the San Diego River and reduce the canyon’s vulnerability to wildfires.

Funding of $383,000 for the project comes from the San Diego River Conservancy and the California Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act.

In addition to this project, the City of San Diego is working with California Department of Fish and Wildlife on a fisheries habitat enhancement project through June 2020. This project is intended to increase fish abundance and angling opportunities for the public by adding fish habitat structures to the reservoir.

Several fish species prefer to nest near physical structures, and their reproductive success can be suppressed in waters lacking structure, as is the case at Lake Murray. Juvenile and adult fish often avoid predators by occupying structurally complex areas. Brush structures, evergreen trees and other synthetic materials will be used to replicate this type of cover.

“As stewards of the area, it is important for us to improve and enhance the environment in and around Murray Reservoir,” said Shauna Lorance, cirector of the San Diego Public Utilities Department. “Working closely with state and local agencies allows us to better achieve this goal.”

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Chris Jennewein

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