Dieguito Lagoon

By Chris
Dixon

A
Small Remnant of its Former Self, The San Dieguito Lagoon Used to Take up
Much of This Photo.

In early
April, a San Diego Superior Court Judge, Lisa Guy-Schall, invalidated
the Environmental Impact Report created for a controversial project called
the San Dieguito Wetland Restoration. The project was created as a means
for Southern California Edison to mitigate some of the impacts that its
various power projects, like San Onofre, have had on natural systems and
fish reproduction along the southern California coast.

As envisioned,
the Del Mar project would create a permanent eight-foot deep and 130 foot
wide channel at the mouth of the San Dieguito lagoon. This channel would
allow the tides to flush the lagoon four times a day, hopefully keeping
the water clean and oxygenated and providing fish breeding and feeding
habitat for an area that has lost much of its natural spawning grounds.
But a local group calling itself Save the Beach, has taken issue with
the project, calling for more study of its potential impacts on water
quality, safety and the effects on the beaches in Del Mar.

Because there
is a dam far inland on the San Dieguito River, very little of its flow
actually makes it to the ocean — particularly during the dry season.
According to San Diego Surfrider Chapter head Marco Gonzalez, this becomes
a problem for several reasons. “Historically,” he says, “the water that
gets built up behind that sand berm gets eutropic (depleted of oxygen)
every summer. Fish die and it gets laden with bacteria from runoff. It’s
bad all the way around.”

According
to Surfrider and Edison, the answer is to open up the lagoon. This would
result in a natural ebb and flow of water in the lagoon allowing oxygen
into the water, creating a healthy ecosystem, and preventing the lagoon
water from becoming the runoff-laden mess that heavily pollutes Del Mar’s
beaches once the sand berm is breached by wintertime rains. “I think a
fully functioning lagoon with be great for water quality in the area,”
says Gonzalez.



An Overview of the Proposed Area. (click to blow it up)