Planting is underway on this $87 million lagoon wetland restoration project at the San Dieguito Lagoon. Located just east of Interstate 5 Phase II of the San Dieguito Lagoon Restoration Project is achieving construction milestones and remains on target for completion this Summer 2024.
The 84-acre lagoon restoration project between Interstate 5 and El Camino Real is creating new tidal salt marsh and brackish marsh and restoring other habitats including riparian and transitional areas that will absorb new floodwaters associated with sea level rise.
High king tides in December 2023 briefly flooded the new tidal channel just east of the freeway, as intended, and demonstrated how tidal creeks bring tidewaters into the new wetland areas. The low-lying area will soon be planted with wetland plants.
Thousands of local native potted plants have been planted throughout the restoration project over the past several months. New vegetation has also quickly spread from natural recruitment particularly in the brackish marsh closer to the main river channel.
In February another major milestone will be to connect the largest salt marsh basin to the San Dieguito River channel.
The San Dieguito Lagoon Restoration Project Phase II adds to earlier restoration work completed in 2011 that brought expansive, open-water basins and improved tidal flushing to adjoining areas east and west of Interstate 5. Both phases are designed to restore a wetland ecosystem that can sustain flooding and future sea level rise.
The San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority and San Diego Association of Governments partnered together to plan the project as part of the 40-year, $6 billion North Coast Corridor Program. The JPA will be the long-term manager of the restoration project after Caltrans’ mitigation obligation has been met.
For more information, please see the San Dieguito Lagoon project website.