San Dieguito River Park
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Restoration and Creation of the Lagoon and Wetlands
Due to the extensive damage to the lagoon, some areas needed to be created and others just restored. The bulk of this project was completed between 2006-2011 and cost approximately $86 million in total. This restoration project includes many different parts: first was creating a large subtidal basin that will act as a fish nursery for local species. This was an important part of SCE’s restoration project because of the SONGs facility’s large impact on fish larvae. Next, berms were created in order to direct the river flow and maintain velocity out to the ocean while preventing freshwater from entering into the salt water marsh habitats. Tidal salt marsh habitats were created, providing specialized habitat for many species including endangered bird species, the light-footed clapper rail. Four new nesting sites were created for the least tern and snowy plover and a fifth was rehabilitated. Least terns and snowy plovers are bird species that are federally listed as endangered & threatened, respectively. Public trails and interpretation programs were created allowing the community to become involved and educated about the area. Four natural treatment ponds were developed to filter pollutants and invasive species from urban runoff while also limiting the amount of fresh water being released into the salt water marsh habitat. Lastly, an important part of this restoration plan is keeping the tidal channel inlet open through dredging. This allows salt water to flow in, creating specialized habitats while in turn allowing the river to flow outward carrying with it sand for the beaches and providing the ocean with needed nutrients.
Another important part of this restoration project is restoring native habitat by removing non-native invasive species and re-vegetating the area with native plants. Many non-native plants have been introduced to this area and are quick to out-compete for vital resources. This has an effect not only on native plants but animals too. The animal life found in an area is dependent on the plants that grow there. Plants can be a direct source of food, or they can provide food to wildlife indirectly through predator/prey relationships. This makes it extremely important that the native plant species be restored to the area.