The Coast News Group
With activity levels increasing at the Agua Hedionda Lagoon city officials are reminding guests about the rules and regulations when using the lagoon. Photo courtesy of Sam Wells

Officials remind lagoon users of regulations following rise in activity levels

CARLSBAD — While the activity level at Agua Hedionda Lagoon is in full swing this summer, the City of Carlsbad continues to remind residents and guests on the regulations. 

While thousands of people visit the lagoon every single year, a few recent events, have spurred the city to remind folks of the rules.

“Some recent safety incidents at the lagoon include an unleashed dog biting a kayaker and the improper use of the slalom course,” said Kristina Ray, City of Carlsbad communications manager. “These incidents are a result of residents and guests not following the lagoon’s rules and regulations, which are put into place to make sure the lagoon is a safe recreational area for everyone.”

Ray said visitors use the lagoon for boating, water skiing, wake boarding, kayaking and paddle boarding. Those who want a quieter visit take a nature walk, fish, or relax on the beach.

When the lagoon rules are not followed, it makes a potential visit for others not so pleasing, and is some cases, hazardous.

“We are trying to raise awareness of rules about where you can launch boats and how to get the proper permit, what the different parts of the lagoon can be used for, and rules about keeping dogs on a leash at all times,” she said.

For instance, power vessels are launched at the northwest portion of the inner lagoon while launching non-power vessels is at the south end of Bayshore Drive.

Ray pointed out the importance of visitors staying out of the protected wildlife habitat areas.

Additionally, vendors and those providing lessons at the lagoon require a business license to operate.

“The City of Carlsbad Police Department enforces current California boating laws, and state and city codes to ensure the public’s safety, but it is up to residents and guests to follow these rules,” she said, adding how community service officers regularly patrol the lagoon to enforce rules and regulations.

Agua Hedionda Lagoon is owned by NRG. However, the City of Carlsbad regulates and maintains the 295-acre inner lagoon for visitors.

“For example, the City of Carlsbad places and maintains regulatory buoys to separate use areas for boaters, while also providing the rules and regulations information to the public,” Ray said.

“The lagoon is not only a popular recreational area, but also a sensitive and vital ecosystem,” she said. “Visitors are surrounded by its natural beauty, which includes hundreds of species of marine life and water fowl.”

Ray wants visitors to know that the rules around the lagoon’s use are in place to protect public safety and the lagoon environment.

Lisa Rodman, executive director at the Discovery Center at the Agua Hedionda Lagoon, said the top complaints they hear are about off-leash dog situations and the high numbers of stand-up paddle board users and paddle board businesses sprouting up.

The surge in paddle boarders has many concerned about lagoon pollution in terms of excess lagoon usage, parking issues and people not respecting the property.

Rodman said her job is to educate the lagoon users, including the out of town visitors who are unaware of the rules and regulations.

“We keep working with the populace up here and educating them on what the expectations are,” Rodman said. “We are actually working on new signage around the lagoon to help with that educational process.”

Rodman said she is hopeful that the ongoing education can provide harmony between the visitors and the lagoon.

For more information about the Agua Hedionda Lagoon please call the Discovery Center at 
(760) 804-1969 or the Parks & Recreation Department at (760) 602-4685. The public is also encouraged to report lagoon violations to the Carlsbad Police Department’s non-emergency number at (760) 931-2197.


1 comment

AB Kuhns August 13, 2013 at 8:12 pm

Lots of activity at the Bayshore entrance to the lagoon on Sunday. I did spot Sam Wells while he was there to capture a shot for this article. There were numerous dogs off leash, in the water and in the sensitive habitat area. The beach was pretty packed with families and some very young children.

The lagoon used to be a wonderful place to spend time in a natural environment, enjoying the wildlife and fresh air. A place to walk your leashed dog without worrying about running into other dogs off-leash. As a responsible dog owner, I would like nothing more than to let our dog run free – but there is a California leash law, signs are posted – but they seem to mean little or nothing to some owners.

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