It is especially gratifying when a large and difficult project that has been championed by Del Mar residents for years is nearing completion. The dredging of the San Dieguito River mouth by Southern California Edison will be completed in the next three months, and most of the objectives of the Lagoon Restoration Plan will have been achieved.
The master plan for the lagoon restoration was developed by the San Dieguito River Park JPA in 2000, when former Del Mar Mayor Mark Whitehead was chair of the board of directors. It included the following objectives: (1) Restore the project area to a total, well-functioning ecological unit that includes open waters, wetlands, uplands and bluffs. (2) Expand tidal influence within the historic boundaries of the San Dieguito Lagoon to the maximum extent feasible by enlarging the tidal prism, maintaining the tidal inlet in an open condition at the river mouth, creating new tidal basins, and creating finger channels to support subtidal, intertidal and coastal salt marsh habitat. (3) Restore native habitat to its historical natural patterns, to the extent feasible, by restoring riparian corridors and natural drainages, removing invasive species, and restoring and enhancing connections to adjacent coastal wetland, riparian and coastal sage scrub habitat. (4) Create and enhance habitat for rare, threatened and endangered wildlife species indigenous (now or in the past) to the lagoon area, including nesting habitat for least terns and snowy plovers. (5) Provide habitat for Canada geese and other migratory birds on the Pacific Flyway. (6) Restore rare coastal wetlands as important habitat for oceanic fish. (7) Provide an alignment for the Coast to Crest Trail that provides access for multiple user groups, including hikers, bicyclists, equestrians and users of all abilities, and that does not impact sensitive habitats or species. (8) Interpret natural and cultural resources for the public by providing wildlife viewing opportunities, interpretive trails, educational signage, and a Nature Center.
The San Dieguito Lagoon Preservation Committee has supported this agenda for many years, and will celebrate the imminent completion of the restoration project with the annual Lagoon Day event to be held at the Del Mar Powerhouse on Sunday, April 17, at 11 a.m. You can hear the story of the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” presented by Jesse Powell, a graduate researcher from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. More details are available at: http://