San Dieguito River Park
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How does the Interstate 5 Freeway affect the San Dieguito Lagoon?
Southern California has seen a dramatic rise in the number of people living here. This led to the creation of the Interstate 5 freeway, which is a barrier to dispersal for the wildlife living in the area. The recent expansion of the freeway and future plans to widen further can have a dramatic impact on the plants and animals living here. While the freeway is a good transportation method for the people living in the area and makes our lives a little bit easier, the same thing cannot be said for the wildlife.
The local wildlife suffers from habitat destruction and various forms of pollution. The lagoon ecosystem suffers from habitat fragmentation or inconsistent habitat, creating a barrier for dispersal of several species including migratory species. There may be no physical wall or barrier stopping the animals from moving, but several animals will not move across an open pathway. This freeway barrier can lead to animal fatalities. This persistent separation of species may lead to the creation of genetic islands, patches of wildlife cutoff from the rest of the habitat due to barriers or other factors, which can shrink the future biodiversity and possibly lead to a local extinction.
The San Dieguito Lagoon has measures in place to try and minimize the impact that the Interstate 5 freeway has on the wildlife and people as well. The Coast to Crest Trail begins here, at the lagoon, and moves eastward. Although it is not completed yet, it will stretch 55 miles to Volcan Mountain. We have created a crossing under the freeway so that the wildlife and people alike may cross freely underneath the freeway minimizing the impact of the high speeds.