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Red dye dumped into Mission Bay for water circulation study

Mission Bay red dye
Posted at 4:53 PM, Dec 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-04 02:25:45-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — San Diego officials dumped red fluorescent dye into Mission Bay on Friday as part of a study on water circulation.

You won't be able to see the red dye in the water up close, but it will be visible from an aerial view for about a week.

The dye is non-toxic. Officials said the dye is made of rhodamine and is safe for use in drinking water and saltwater.

The red dye will naturally be absorbed into the bay and shouldn't leave any residue on beaches or have a long-term impact.

While the red dye is in the bay, there won't be any restrictions on public recreation or water activities, and contact with the water will be safe.

"We want to assure the public that even though the red dye may be visible at first, it is completely safe and won’t have any long-term effects on the environment," said Keli Balo, Assistant Deputy Director of the City’s Public Utilities Department. "The water circulation data we collect will help us improve Mission Bay and give us a tool to protect it for future generations of San Diegans."

During the study, the movement of the dye will be captured by drones and visual surveys. The city hopes to gain a better understanding of water circulation patterns in Mission Bay and the dispersion of contaminants that may enter from Rose Creek.

The bay is home to several sensitive plant and wildlife habitats. Cheryl Jenkins, an Environmental Biologist with the city, said the data collected will help tailor restoration projects to accommodate the change in rising sea levels due to climate change.

"The types of plants for instance that we would want to use based on how saline the area is or where they [plants] would be," she said.

Officials released the dye into the Rose Creek inlet of Mission Bay from the Mike Gotch Memorial Pedestrian Bridge, which is between Campland on the Bay and De Anza Cove.

"They [scientists] placed the dye into the water at the highest tide of the day so that they could study how the flow of the water moves throughout the bay," Jenkins said.