Patricia and Michael McCoy, DVM
Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association
Imperial Beach, California

Patricia and Mike McCoy have dedicated the past two decades to preserving Southern California’s wetland resources and to educating the public about their value. In 1979, the couple founded the Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association (SWIA), which was instrumental in securing designation of Tijuana Estuary as National Estuarine Research Reserve. Scheduled to become a marina in the early 1970s, the 2,413-acre Reserve now includes a U.S Fish and Wildlife Refuge for endangered species, a state park, an outdoor research laboratory, and a visitor center.

Both Patricia and Mike serve on the Reserve’s Management Authority. In 1997, Patricia supervised contracts for the construction of the Tidal Linkage, the first tidal restoration module for Tijuana Estuary. Mike recently reconstituted the Authority’s Research Committee, reaching out to a broad group of researchers to advise in restoring the estuary. In addition, Mike is a member of San Diego County’s Fish and Wildlife Commission and the County’s Parks and Recreation Committee and the current president of SWIA. The McCoy’s protection of Tijuana Estuary is a remarkable achievement. Through their endless energy and long-term vision, they have worked to educate the public about wetland resources, and have had a strong positive influence on local wetland polices.

— Joy Zedler, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, and John Callaway, Ph.D., Gabrielle Vivianne-Smith, Ph.D., and Julie Desmond, M.S., Pacific Estuarine Research Laboratory