The Coast News Group
NCC crews attending a meeting at San Dieguito Lagoon (March 2020). Courtesy photo
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Phase II begins of San Dieguito Lagoon restoration

On January 3, 2022, Caltrans and SANDAG NCC crews began work in partnership with the San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority (JPA) on Phase II of the San Dieguito Lagoon Wetland Restoration Project in the city of San Diego. This project will restore 64 acres of land back to tidal salt marsh, another 15 acres will become brackish wetland, and an additional five acres will be riparian habitat, all serving as refuge for wildlife.

In addition to restored habitats, a new trail connection from the Dust Devil Nature Trail to the Coast to Crest Trail will be added for residents and visitors to enjoy.

These wetlands are home to both fresh and saltwater wildlife and are integral to the biodiversity of the region. Projects such as this are a great example of local agencies working alongside one another to recognize the interconnected nature of sensitive ecosystems. Additional work will remove harmful invasive plant species that often outcompete newly planted native species.

As this project continues, residents can expect closures of the Dust Devil Nature Trail Monday through Friday, from January-March and October-December. During this timeframe, the trail will be open 6 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. From April-September, trail hours will be extended to 6 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The parking lot will be closed while the Dust Devil Nature Trail is closed, and the trail is subject to closure throughout of construction.

Residents can expect to see some vegetation removal, hear construction crews and heavy equipment working near the lagoon. Additionally, they may see lighting within the central basin of the lagoon and along El Camino Real and Via De La Valle.   

Both federal and local funding has been secured for the $87 million restoration project. Local funding is sourced from SANDAG’s Environmental Mitigation Program (EMP), funded by TransNet: the voter-approved half-cent sales tax administered by SANDAG. Thanks to the combined effort of elected officials, advocacy groups, public input, and our hardworking crews, phase II of this restoration will soon come to fruition. This restoration project is anticipated to complete in 2024.

For more information on the project please visit KeepSanDiegoMoving.com/NCC.

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