Saturday, September 19, 2020

September is Green Port Month

Ridgeway’s rail
In partnership with the Living Coast Discovery Center, 17 juvenile endangered Ridgeway’s rails were released into the wild and 12 new chicks hatched which are being raised for release into Southern California marshes. Image courtesy of Port of San Diego

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September is Green Port Month at the Port of San Diego, and this year, the Port marks this annual tradition with a virtual environmental awards ceremony and environmental education events.

“To help ensure San Diego Bay remains a vibrant resource for generations to come, the Port’s Green Port Program includes initiatives that help us meet our environmental goals, which include reducing air pollution and waste, and saving energy and water,” said Chair Ann Moore, Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners. “Green Port Month gives us the opportunity to highlight our accomplishments and the Environmental Champions who led the way.”

The virtual environmental awards ceremony took place at the Port’s Thursday, September 10, 2020 Board of Port Commissioners meeting. Five Port employees were honored with the Michelle White Environmental Award. Michelle, a former Port employee, started the Green Port Month program 13 years ago. Unfortunately, she passed away in 2016. The Port honors her environmental legacy with this annual awards ceremony.

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The recipients of this year’s Michelle White Environmental Awards were Robert Alcala, lead electrician; Jeremy Cadua, HVAC technician; Miguel Sanchez, HVAC technician; and Daniel Toscano, maintenance supervisor. Together, this team from the Port’s General Services department, outlined equipment that could be turned off in the Port’s Administration Building and other facilities while Port employees worked remotely. Their insight and innovation resulted in a 50 percent reduction in energy use and a savings of $7,000-$15,000 in utility costs each month. They also installed UV technology at key Port facilities which is improving air quality and sanitation efforts.

A fifth Port employee, Annabelle Burruss, an associate environmental specialist in the Port’s Planning, Environment and Government Relations division was also honored with a Michelle White Environmental Award. Annabelle coordinated weekly virtual picnics during lunchtime that featured discussions on environmental justice, equity, social unrest and racial issues. Annabelle is being recognized for her leadership and courage.

Each Green Port Month, the Port also recognizes a community partner. This year’s recipient was Corchelle Worsham, director of membership and events for the San Diego Port Tenants Association. Corchelle is a member of the Port’s Environmental Advisory Committee and the Wildlife Advisory Committee. For the past four years, Corchelle has led the annual Operation Clean Sweep event, which draws approximately 1,000 volunteers to the San Diego Bay shoreline to clean up trash and debris. She has collaborated with the Port’s Green Business Network to assist Port tenants with sustainable business practices. She has also worked with tenants on the deployment of zero emission trucks with the assistance of a California Energy Commission Grant.

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Another highlight of Green Port Month is the publication of the annual Green Port Year in Review. This document pinpoints the Port’s environmental achievements. Some of the Port’s environmental successes in fiscal year 2019-2020 included:

  • Sunken Seaweed, a company in the Port’s Blue Economy Incubator Program, was approved to add shellfish to the existing pilot seaweed farming system. This addition will demonstrate the feasibility and water quality benefits of shellfish and seaweed aquaculture in San Diego Bay.
  • The Port transitioned stormwater education outreach to virtual training to respond to COVID-19 constraints. The English and Spanish training videos received close to 5,000 public views and 100 Port employees were trained virtually.
  • The Port completed the Barrio Logan Nighttime Noise Study to better understand the causes of nighttime disturbances in the community and identify tools to avoid, minimize and/or mitigate adverse nighttime noise sources, and improve the quality of life for Barrio Logan residents.
  • The Port replenished approximately 2,200 cubic yards of natural sand at Kellogg Beach to protect the coastline from erosion.
  • The Port joined the State’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) program for the Port’s two shore power operations at B Street Cruise Ship Terminal and Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, earning the Port $400,000 in 2019 to be used for additional electrification projects.

To view the full Green Port Year in Review and to learn more about the Port of San Diego’s environmental initiatives, visit  https://www.portofsandiego.org/environment-year-in-review

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Managing Editor
Originally from upstate New York, Dani Schwartz has lived in Coronado since 1996. She is thrilled to call Coronado home and raise her two children here. In her free time enjoys hitting the gym, reading, and walking her dog around the “island.”Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: manager@coronadotimes.com
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