Erosion Forces UCSD to Relocate Fishery

    The Southwest Fisheries
    Science Center
    ,
    currently located on land leased from UCSD near Scripps Institution of
    Oceanography, will be moved to a new location by 2011 due to the hazardous
    levels of erosion observed in the cliffs beneath the center’s main facilities.

    Over the summer, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
    Administration’s research center in La Jolla will be
    partially evacuated because the foundations of two of the buildings have been
    deemed unsafely close to the cliff’s edge for safety. Employees will be moving
    to temporary offices elsewhere on UCSD’s campus.

    Meanwhile, plans are underway to build a new research center
    on the east side of La Jolla Shores Drive,
    a significant distance from the cliffs.

    “We hope the transition will be quite smooth,” said Meghan
    Donahue, director of planning operations, management and information for the
    center.

    According to Donahue, two-thirds of the staff will move to
    temporary leased space on Torrey Pines Road. The remaining staff will stay in
    the two buildings on the original site deemed safe for occupancy.

    The new center is slated for completion by 2011 and is
    estimated to cost as much as $104 million.

    This year’s annual federal budget proposal includes
    President George W. Bush’s $12.1-million request to help with the project’s
    costs. Donahue said that additional increases in federal contributions will be
    requested on an annual basis.

    SFSC is working with the community to integrate the new
    center into the neighborhood.

    “We’ve had one public scoping meeting here at the lab and we
    also attended and provided some information at two La Jolla community planning
    meetings,” Donahue said.

    Among the issues raised by community members are concerns
    that the new center will block views and generate parking congestion. Right
    now, most of the staff at the SFSC are forced to park on the street due to limited parking at the current center. However, Donahue said that the new center
    will include 202 parking spaces below the building.

    The planning team is
    trying to minimize the impact on neighborhood viewpoints by painting the roofs
    green to match the landscape. In addition, it will continue to host forums for
    community members to voice concerns.

    Donahue said that other than the time during which the
    offices will be moved, the center’s research should not be significantly
    interrupted.

    The La Jolla laboratory is the headquarters for the NOAA’s
    National Marine Fisheries Service and also houses units focused on Antarctic
    ecosystems research, research on fisheries resources and research on protected
    resources. The center’s scientists also
    study Pacific and Antarctic fish, marine mammals, sea turtles and marine
    habitats.

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