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Lagoon Days celebrate conservation efforts

CARLSBAD — To raise awareness of what many consider some of the most unique natural resources in the city, and to celebrate the elimination of what once threatened them, the foundations for each of the three lagoons in the city joined together to host Lagoon Days.
Daylong activities on July 18 varied at each of the three lagoons, giving visitors enough time to visit each lagoon. The day started with Native American storytelling and a guided nature walk in the morning at the Batiquitos Lagoon in the southern part of the city, and daylong wildlife viewing, nature walks and children’s activities at the Buena Vista Lagoon Audubon center in the northern part of the city.
To cap off the day, speakers praised the conservation efforts, including those that finally eradicated the destructive seaweed that once threatened the Agua Hedionda Lagoon, located in the central part of the city, east of the power plant. While efforts to remove the invasive plant were under way, Agua Hedionda Lagoon was closed to recreation.
“Agua Hedionda is the people’s lagoon, with skiing, boating, kayaking, fishing and the aqua farms,” said Sylvia Pauloo-Taylor, a board member of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon foundation. “All three lagoons are celebrating the eradication of Caulerpa taxifolia in the Agua Hedionda Lagoon.”
The destructive seaweed was first discovered in the Agua Hedionda Lagoon in June 2000, and threatened marine life in the lagoon as well as the open ocean.
All three lagoons, at one time, were flushed by the open ocean. However, since the 1940s and 1950s, a weir built at the mouth of the Buena Vista Lagoon has kept the ocean water out.
“We have three lagoons,” said Dr. Regg Antle, the president of the foundation for the Buena Vista Lagoon. “One has been saved,“ he said of the efforts that “saved” the Agua Hedionda lagoon. “One is restored,” he said, referring to the Batiquitos lagoon. “And one is degraded.”
Antle said plans have been under way for a while for the restoration of the Buena Vista Lagoon, but he is hopeful they will soon move forward at, “more than glacial speed.”
The work that goes on behind the scenes to take care of the natural resources in the city may be unnoticed by some, but the results are often appreciated by those who live, work and play in the city.
For many, including Mark Conner of Carlsbad, the lagoons are part of the reason he lives in the city. Conner and his children toured the Discovery Center just east of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon during Lagoon Days.
“It is really nice here,” he said. “And the lagoons are a big part of why.”