The Otay River Restoration Project currently consists of two components; the 2016 Restoration Project and the Mitigation Bank Expansion Project. The 2016 Restoration Project included more than 38 acres of river, floodplain, and upland restoration in the most upstream portion of the river. This Project has entered the 5-year maintenance and monitoring period and is expected to meet all success criteria for year 1. The Mitigation Bank Expansion Project is a direct extension of the 2016 Restoration Project and consists of more than 250 acres of additional restoration of river, floodplain, and upland habitat, including depressional and vernal pool establishment. The Mitigation Bank is being implemented for future mitigation needs and restoration activities are expected to begin at the end of 2021. Credits will be available for purchase in 2022.
Why is Restoration Needed?
The Otay River Valley has a history of dam failure and flooding, which left the floodplain littered with sediment and debris. Savage Dam was reconstructed in 1918 and has remained intact since it’s rebuilding. Over the next several decades, the floodplain was mined for sand and gravel, continuing until the mid-1980’s. Due to dam failure, flooding, deposition and intensive harvesting of alluvium materials, the natural topography, hydrologic, and sediment transport functions of the Otay River have been altered. With no defined channel and a dominance of non-native invasive species, restoration was needed to get the river back to a naturally functioning system.