Floating Upweller System Technology for Oyster Nursery Aquaculture Pilot Program in San Diego Bay


SCH Number
Public Agency
San Diego Unified Port District
Document Title
Floating Upweller System Technology for Oyster Nursery Aquaculture Pilot Program in San Diego Bay
Document Type
NOE - Notice of Exemption
Document Description
The proposed pilot project involves the installation of up to two Floating Upweller Nurserey Systems (FLUPSYs) and associated dock repairs in Tuna Harbor in San Diego Bay. The proposed pilot is intended to analyze the feasibility of developing a year-round shellfish operation in San Diego Bay. As further described below, the FLUPSYS technology would be used to grow Pacific oysters or other species of shellfish and algae and would consist of floating barges that are attached via brackets with rollers that surround existing pilings located in Tuna Harbor. The proposed project would operate one FLUPSY for several production cycles with the option for a second FLUPSY to be placed adjacent to the first FLUPSY. The footprint for one FLUPSY would be 26 feet wide by 80 feet long by three feet deep, for a total surface area of 2,080 square feet. An additional FLUPSY would increase the overall footprint to 40 feet wide by 80 feet long by three feet deep, for a total surface area of 3,200 square feet. A standard FLUPSY has 32 seed bins with a volume capacity of 533 liters each, giving a total capacity of 17,056 liters in rearing area volume. On each FLUPSY barge, a paddle well would move water through compartments, or bins, holding juvenile oysters. Bay water would circulated over the shellfish enabling the seed to grow quickly and uniformly to provide a constant supply of food and oxygen. The pilot project would be installed for up to five years. A "Blue Economy Agreement" by and between the District and the San Diego Bay Aquaculture, LLC is also proposed. A Tidelands Use and Occupancy Permit, Right of Entry Licensing Agreement, or other similar agreement may also be required. The proposed project would import diploid and triploid Pacific Oyster (Crassostrea gigas) seed, rear them until they reach approximately 3/4inch. And then export them to a final grow out location in California, and other Pacific Northwest locations. The proposed project may provide research opportunities for other species of shellfish and algae, including Olympia oyster (Ostrea luride), Green abalone (Haliotis fulgens), Pink Abalone (Haliotis corrugate), Purple hinge rock scallop (Crassadoma gigantea), Keyhole limpet (megathura crenulata), Dulse (Palmaria palmate), Red Ogo (Gracilaria pacifica), Red Algae (Gracilariopsis spp.), Green algae (Ulva spp), Giant Kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera). The proposed project involves minor repair of the docks, and potential utility improvements that would support the FLUPSY operations. Additionally, a fence would be install around the FLUPSY and part of the dock to ensure no public or marine mammals disturb the operation of the FLUPSY. It is anticipated that construction of the dock repairs would commence in late summer 2017 and take approximately up to three months to complete. At the peak of construction activates, the proposed project would require approximately four to six employees, and would generate approximately 12 one-way trucks trips per day. The workers would park at five designated District parking spaces at the G Street Mole. Upon completion of the dock repairs, the FLUPSYS would be delivered by approximately two trucks and take approximately 7-10 days to construct. The FLUPSY is modular, comprised of four basic components, which are bolted together. The FLUPSY would be attached to the pilings via brackets with rollers that surround the existing pilings so the FLUPSY would be attached to the pilings via brackets with rollers that surround the existing pilings so the FLUPSY can move up and down with the tides or water movements, similar to how docks are install along pilings. Furthermore, no eelgrass resources are known to occur within the project area. Therefore, the proposed project would not result in any significant impacts to biological resources. Additionally, staff is applying for an Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) Nationwide #48 "Commercial Shellfish Aquaculture Activities" permit as part of the entitlement proves, which would be obtained prior to operations of the FLUPSY. Furthermore, the applicant would be responsible for complying with all applicable federal, state, and local laws regulating construction demolition debris, noise, and storm water.

Contact Information

Ashley Wright
Agency Name
San Diego Unified Port District
Contact Types
Lead/Public Agency


San Diego
San Diego
Other Information
Tuna Harbor

Notice of Exemption

Exempt Status
Categorical Exemption
Type, Section or Code
C:1,3,6 S:15301,15303, 15306
Reasons for Exemption
The project is determined to be Categorically Exempt pursuant to California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Guidelines Sections 15301 (Existing Facilities) 15303 (New Construction or Conversion of Small Structures), and/or 15306 (Information Collection) and Sections 3.a (1)(7), 3.c (1)(2)(3), and/or 3.f of the District's Guidelines for Compliance with CEQA because the project involves installation of up to two FLUPSYs and associated dock repairs that would involve no expansion of use beyond that previously existing and would not result in a serious or major disturbance to an environmental resources. Sections 3.a (1)(7), 3.c (1)(2)(3), and 3.f if the District's CEQA Guidelines is as follows: 3.a. Existing Facilities (SG §15301) (Class 1): Includes operation, repair, maintenance, or minor alteration of existing public and private structures, facilities, mechanical equipment, or topographical features, involving negligible or no expansion of use beyond that previously existing, including but not limited to: (1) Repair, maintenance or minor alteration of existing mooring facilities, floats, piers, piles, wharves bulkhead, revetment, buoys, or similar structures; marine terminal facilities; airport facilities; and commercial industrial, or recreational facilities. (7) Existing facilities used to provide electric power, natural gas, sewerage, or other public utility service. AND/OR 3.c New Construction of Conversion of Small Structures (SG §15303) (Class 3): Includes construction of limited numbers of new, small facilities or structure; installation of small new equipment and facilities in small structure; and conversion of existing small structures from one use to another with minor modifications to the exteriors of the structure. Example of this exemption include: (1) Commercial, industrial, recreational and marine oriented… facilities of structures if designed for an occupant load of 30 persons or less… (2) Accessory (appurtenant) structures and mechanical equipment including, but not limited to ... fences. (3)Water, sewer, electrical, gas, telephone, and other utility structures or facilities. AND/OR 3.f Information Collection (SG §15306) (Class 6): Includes basic data collection, research, experimental management, and resources evaluation activities which do not result in a serious or major disturbance to an environmental resources. These may be for information gathering purposes, or as part of a study leading to an action which has not yet been approved, adopted, or funded.

Disclaimer: The document was originally posted before CEQAnet had the capability to host attachments for the public. To obtain the original attachments for this document, please contact the lead agency at the contact information listed above. You may also contact the OPR via email at state.clearinghouse@opr.ca.gov or via phone at (916) 445-0613.

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