Buena Vista Lagoon Enhancement Project

Buena Vista LagoonBuena Vista Lagoon is located in northern San Diego County, within the cities of Oceanside and Carlsbad. It encompasses approximately 220 acres, extending to the coastline from just east of I-5. 

Buena Vista Lagoon is the only freshwater lagoon in Southern California, protected from tidal influence by a beach berm and a man-made barrier, known as a weir, located at the lagoon mouth. 

Numerous federal, state and local agencies and organizations have cooperated in efforts to enhance the lagoon. In July 2012, SANDAG was asked to serve as the new lead agency for the environmental review process for the Buena Vista Lagoon Enhancement Project. The SANDAG Transportation Committee approved the request, in recognition of the lagoon’s regional value and the importance of resolving long-term management questions. 

Environmental Process

The Buena Vista Lagoon Enhancement Project includes completing engineering studies and preparing an environmental impact report (EIR). Four alternatives are being evaluated: three enhancement alternatives (freshwater, saltwater, and a saltwater/freshwater hybrid) and a no project alternative. 

SANDAG engaged federal and state agencies, the cities of Carlsbad and Oceanside, stakeholders, and the public in considering alternatives through the EIR process.

In April 2013, SANDAG published a Notice of Preparation for the EIR. In May 2013, SANDAG conducted a public scoping meeting to collect input on the issues to be addressed in the environmental review process. On July 8, 2015, SANDAG published a Notice of Availability for the Draft EIR and began a 55-day public comment period. The comment period is now closed and more than 168 comment letters were received. 

The Final EIR has been prepared along with responses to these comment letters.

Public Meeting

The SANDAG Board of Directors held a public meeting on November 16, 2018. At the request of the City of Carlsbad, a motion was approved to delay any action on the project for six months to allow residents to reach a consensus on the enhancement efforts.  This item will be brought back to the Board of Directors at a future meeting.

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