San Elijo Lagoon Restoration Will Help Prepare for Rising Sea Levels
In the last week of November, the preparation for rising sea levels began for the San Elijo Lagoon in San Diego North County. Located between Solana Beach and Encinitas, the $100 million project for the lagoon will also restore its natural habitat. The funding for improving the lagoon and its water flow is due to environmental mitigation money in Caltrans’ North Coast Corridor project.
According to KPBS, Executive Director of the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy Doug Gibson explained why the lagoon requires such an extensive restoration.
“Early transportation projects bisected these lagoons — the railroad, then Highway 101, then Interstate 5. So what that did with these lagoons is it cut off how water flows through them. That increases bacteria … decreasing water quality affects the fish species that can survive in the lagoon. That affects the birds and everyone else, so it’s a cascading effect.”
The plan entails dredging the lagoon, opening tidal flow, spreading clean sand on local beaches, and creating contoured basins and inlands to preserve the marshy wetlands in the event of rising seas levels. A footbridge across the lagoon will also be built, connecting trails on the southside of Encinitas to Rancho Santa Fe.
The project has a projected completion date of 2021.