Do you see red in Mission Bay? Don’t worry, the dye is a non-toxic way to study water circulation

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Mission Bay took on an unearthly crimson hue on Friday. But the red waters are nothing to worry about, city officials say.

The city poured a fluorescent red dye into the bay on Friday to study water flow to collect data for a wetland restoration project as well as to help solve broader environmental problems.

The dye is non-toxic rhodamine which can be used safely in drinking water and salt water. While the dye may be visible next week, it does not affect recreation or use of Mission Bay, officials said.

“We want to assure the public that although the red dye may be visible at first, it is completely safe and will have no long-term effect on the environment,” Keli Balo, deputy deputy director of the public services department of the city. , said in a statement. “The water flow data we collect will help us improve Mission Bay and give us a tool to protect it for future generations in San Diego.”

The dye will eventually dissipate in the bay and is not expected to leave a lasting mark on the coast, officials said.

A map predicts where the red dye will be visible in Mission Bay this week.

(Courtesy of the City of San Diego)

The dye was released early in the morning from a boat where Rose Creek empties into the bay – near the Mike Gotch Memorial pedestrian bridge between Campland on the Bay and De Anza Cove. Rose Creek runs north to south through San Clemente Canyon and Rose Canyon, and is known to carry polluted urban runoff into the bay.

Researchers will follow the movement of the dye over the next few days using drones.

Specifically, the researchers hope the study will provide a better understanding of how contaminants from Rose Creek are dispersed once they enter Mission Bay. The study is part of a plan to restore wetlands in the northeast corner of Mission Bay.

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