San Dieguito River Park

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Lagoon Restoration Project

(Leer en Español)

The San Dieguito Lagoon has not always been the beautiful flourishing ecosystem that you see today. Californians did not realize the important role that lagoons play in preserving water quality while also providing a vast diversity of habitat types for many threatened and endangered species. At one point this area was used as a dumping site for various waste products. Protection of this natural resource began when a group of dedicated citizens realized the Lagoon’s importance to their community and campaigned vigorously to defeat commercial development in the lagoon so that it could be preserved for open space and ultimately restored. These actions were pivotal to the creation of the San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority in 1989. The first property acquired by the San Dieguito River Park was here in the lagoon area – the property that had been proposed for a hotel. Although the lagoon was soon protected as public open space following a series of important acquisitions, it was not functioning as a tidal ecosystem. It wasn’t until 1991 that the California Coastal Commission (CCC) required Southern California Edison (SCE) to restore 150 acres of wetlands. SCE had made modifications to the cooling systems, units 2 and 3, of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS). These modifications caused damage to sea life, having a large impact on fish larvae. Because of these negative impacts SCE was required to mitigate (restore for environmental damages) for their impact on the environment. In 1993, Southern California Edison chose the San Dieguito Lagoon as their restoration mitigation site, and about 10 years later, the creation & restoration began. Its completion was officially celebrated in 2012.




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