SANDAG, along with its partner agencies, are pursuing a project to restore land in the San Dieguito River Valley. The San Dieguito Lagoon Enhancement Project will convert former agricultural fields to salt water wetlands and enhance and maintain the natural flood control channel.
The project will expand and enhance the efforts of Southern California Edison (SEC), which began restoring surrounding wetlands in 2011. Of the 130-acre site located east of Interstate 5, 50 acres of salt marsh and more than 20 acres of freshwater will be added during the restoration. SANDAG will help assist SEC with the maintenance of the lagoon mouth to ensure a continued supply of sand to the beach. The expansion of the habitat acreage also will attract a variety of wildlife to the area and new pedestrian trails will improve coastal access.
The restoration is estimated to cost $65 million and begin in late 2018.
The San Dieguito Lagoon Enhancement Project is being done in conjunction with Caltrans to implement highway and railroad improvements as part of the North Coast Corridor Program.
In October 2009, SANDAG entered into an agreement with the San Dieguito River Park Joint Power’s Authority (SDRPJPA), for the exclusive rights to restore property owned by SDRVJPA (amended in 2016). At the same time, the City of San Diego elected to use a portion of the SDRVJPA property to mitigate the impacts associated with the El Camino Real Bridge Widening Project.
The plans of SANDAG, SDRPJA, and the City of San Diego were combined in 2011 and launched the development of a restoration plan, engineering and technical studies, and environmental analysis for a larger restoration effort. In 2012, Caltrans and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers joined the three organizations in creating coastal wetland restoration plans for the lagoon that will build upon and expand previous restoration work.
Preliminary engineering, hydrologic modeling, and technical studies, for the restoration have been completed. The Environmental Impact Report for the project will be available for public review in winter 2017.