SAN DIEGO – One of San Diego’s most recognizable and popular destinations for residents and tourists will soon undergo much-needed maintenance. Beginning this week, the city will start dredging the bottom of Mission Bay to increase navigational safety for boats. It has been almost 50 years since the last major dredging operation in Mission Bay. “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 L. 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.” Dredging will primarily be done using a large barge-mounted crane that will excavate sections of the bay floor and deposit the material onto two boats. The boats will transport the material to a designated reuse area where it will be deposited back to the bottom of the bay. A majority of the extracted material will be placed at various other locations in the bay, and the remaining materials will be used to restore beaches along Crown Point and Vacation Island. To mitigate potential impacts to marine wildlife, up to 70 acres of eelgrass will be replanted in various locations using a team of scuba divers. This eelgrass replacement will be the largest one of its kind on the west coast. “This project is very complex, and our staff has worked very hard to prepare for this work, so the engineering aspects are going to be impressive and interesting to watch,” said James Nagelvoort, Director of the City’s Public Works Department. The project will dredge approximately 64 acres within Mission Bay, resulting in an estimated 122,000 cubic yards (CY) to 220,850 CY of dredged material. All of the dredged material will be reused, but the trash and other unusable materials will be removed and disposed. During the work, sections of Mission Bay and certain beaches will be closed. The public is encouraged to keep a safe distance from construction equipment on the bay and beaches at all times. The work is anticipated to be completed this October.