Zuniga Jetty Shoals Marine Debris Removal


SCH Number
Public Agency
San Diego Unified Port District
Document Title
Zuniga Jetty Shoals Marine Debris Removal
Document Type
NOE - Notice of Exemption
Document Description
The San Diego Unified Port District (Applicant or District) proposes the removal of up to 90 items of marine debris including an estimated of at least 18 sunken or potential sunken vessels east of Zuniga Jetty in the Zuniga Jetty Shoals. Zuniga Jetty Shoals (Shoals) is located in the Pacific Ocean, south of the entrance to San Diego Bay and east of Zuniga Jetty (32.6746, 117.2234), a rubble-mount structure that extends approximately 1 mile offshore of Zuniga Point at Naval Air Station North Island. The Shoals consist of an area which stretches over 900 acres. In July and August 2023, a sonar survey was conducted in the Shoals which identified the items of debris ranging in size from approximately 5 to 1,300 square feet. Among the 90 identified debris items, 5 are confirmed sunken vessels, 13 are potential sunken vessels, and the remainder are smaller items noted as debris or within debris fields on the attached exhibit. Attachment 1 shows a map of the identified marine debris. The District intends to have all of the 90 items identified in the sonar survey removed before the end of 2025, however more time may be needed pending availability of funding or other resources. Caltrans is funding the initial debris removal through a “Funds Transfer Agreement” to address abandoned and derelict vessels at the Shoals, and the District may continue to pursue other funding opportunities. In addition to debris removal, funding may cover the enforcement of anchoring limits in the area to prevent future marine debris. The District would solicit for a contractor to remove the debris. Contractor solicitation is anticipated to begin in May 2024. Debris removal is anticipated to begin in summer 2024. Once clean-up starts, the clean-up team would be on site approximately 4-5 days per week. The clean-up team would consist of up to 10 individuals, including 2-3 divers, 2-3 boat operators, and 2-4 deck hands. The contractor would use a vessel to tow a small barge to access points of debris identified in the sonar survey. The small barge would hold an A-frame or crane to remove the debris. In addition to the small barge, 2-3 support vessels would be needed to support the dive teams. Divers would also use lift bags to pull the debris to the surface. Once removed, the debris would be transported off site where it would be recycled or disposed of per federal and state laws and regulations. Any liquid waste generated would be transferred to storage containers and appropriately disposed of according to the Best Management Practices listed in further detail below. The contractor would identify, weigh, and photograph each piece of debris removed. The contractor will prepare and abide by a Best Management Practices plan to mitigate any impacts during debris removal operations. Best Management Practices will include: • Having on site and ready to use, petroleum spill equipment, booms, spill containment bins should the contractor encounter any liquids oils or chemicals during debris removal. Provider to ensure that wastes are separated, contained, and disposed of properly at a permitted facility.? • Contractor shall provide a copy of their "Dive Safety Plan" if they propose to use divers. The "Dive Safety Plan" is to include measures to ensure boats are aware that divers are in the water and otherwise conform with all requirements of OSHA.? • Survey results indicate the area of known eelgrass habitat within the project site. The contractor will abide by California Eelgrass Mitigation Policy, Section II.C Avoiding and Minimizing Impacts to eelgrass. The contractor will be required to avoid anchoring or spudding in the eelgrass beds. Large debris, located within eelgrass habitat and which requires craning, will be performed by idling vessel (not anchored or spudded) and lift lines will be attached by in-water divers, taking the utmost care to protect Eelgrass and benthic habitat. • Turbidity resulting from debris removal is anticipated to be minimal and temporary. If surface turbidity is seen during debris removal operations, the contractor shall slow, reduce, or stop work until the turbidity has ceased.? Due to its nature and limited scope, the proposed project would generate a minor amount of vehicle trips and would require limited use of equipment. Therefore, impacts related to air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, and transportation and traffic are not anticipated to occur. Furthermore, the Applicant would be responsible for complying with all applicable federal, state, and local laws regarding demolition debris, hazards and hazardous materials, and stormwater.

Contact Information

Jolie Gobler
Agency Name
Port of San Diego
Job Title
Assistant Planner
Contact Types
Lead/Public Agency / Project Applicant


San Diego
San Diego
Southern California
Cross Streets
Zuniga Jetty Shoals (West of Zuniga Jetty)

Notice of Exemption

Exempt Status
Categorical Exemption
Type, Section or Code
Section 15301, Section 15307, Section 15308
Reasons for Exemption
The proposed project is determined to be Categorically Exempt pursuant to California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Guidelines Sections 15301 (Existing Facilities), 15307 (Actions by Regulatory Agencies for Protection of Natural Resources), and 15308 (Actions by Regulatory Agency for the Protection of the Environment) of the District’s Guidelines for Compliance with CEQA because it involves the maintenance of wildlife habitat areas, stream flows, springs, waterholes, and stream channels to protect wildlife resources and actions taken by a regulatory agency to assure the maintenance, restoration, or enhancement of a natural resource and of the environment where the regulatory process involves procedures for the protection of natural resources and for the environment. The District has determined none of the six exceptions to the use of a categorical exemption apply to this project.
County Clerk
San Diego


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