OCEANSIDE — Pilgrim Creek no longer meanders through the Oceanside Municipal Golf Course, but instead sits in a series of ponds that have become homes for mosquitoes to lay their eggs and reproduce.
The creek has been identified as a mosquito breeding area, and the city has secured a $500,000 county vector habitat remediation grant to squash the problem.
Mosquitoes can pose a serious health risk because they act as conductors and carry the West Nile virus from person to person when the disease is active in an area.
County grant funds are set aside to help alleviate this problem.
City Council accepted a share of the grant funds on April 16. The $500,000 will pay for the study and design of a plan to get the waterway flowing again.
A hydraulic study, design feasibility study and environment technical study will be the first steps.
Then a California Environmental Quality Act review, permits, final engineering and preparation need to be completed before a plan can be implemented.
These preliminary steps will take about a year.
The city will seek a second $500,000 grant from the county to fund implementing the plan.
The end result will be minimal reconstruction to the natural creek bed to promote water flow, and reduce mosquito breeding.
“We’ll reconstruct a configuration that allows flow,” David Toschak, city senior engineer, said.
“We’re not pouring concrete or creating a trench. We’re keeping it a natural waterway.
“It will be aesthetically pleasing in addition to taking care of the vector problem.”
Once work is completed the visual difference will be flowing water through the golf course instead of stagnant ponds.
The city is taking initiative to correct the creek’s flow, because the stagnant creek sits on city property.
Private groups that have a stagnant body of water on their property, which has been determined to attract mosquito breeding, can also pursue county vector control funds to resolve the problem.
Oceanside environmental officer Mo Lahsaie encourages groups in need to do so.
“A pot of money is there,” Lahsaie said.