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Rare Habitat in Ocean Beach Thrives on Volunteers

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Aired 7/24/09

About 50 volunteers will be working Saturday to maintain a stretch of coastal dunes at the mouth of the San Diego River. KPBS Reporter Ed Joyce tells us the area along the river at Dog Beach is one of the last remaining habitats of its kind in California.

A stretch of coastal dune, marsh and intertidal zone in Ocean Beach is thriving with the help of volunteers.
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Above: A stretch of coastal dune, marsh and intertidal zone in Ocean Beach is thriving with the help of volunteers.

About 50 volunteers will be working Saturday to maintain a stretch of coastal dunes at the mouth of the San Diego River. KPBS Reporter Ed Joyce tells us the area along the river at Dog Beach is one of the last remaining habitats of its kind in California.

The San Diego River Park Foundation and its volunteers work with the city of San Diego to maintain the health of the coastal dunes and intertidal zone.

The Foundation's Richard Dhu says the site is a small version of what dominated Ocean Beach, Mission Beach and Pacific Beach before the river channel was created and homes were built.

He says the area provides habitat for rare animals, including a nesting site for the endangered Least Tern.

Dhu says volunteers will spend three hours at the site removing trash and non-native plants.

"We've just discovered an invasion or an infestation of a non-native sea lavender," Dhu says. "So I think tomorrow down in the inter-tidal zone we're going to go ahead and remove as much of that as we can before it spreads and then out-competes the beneficial native plants that we have here."

Dhu says volunteers will also learn why their work is critical to maintain the habitat.

He says the San Diego River Park Foundation will provide tools, gloves, drinks and snacks.

The cleanup starts at 9 a.m.

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