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  • SCE anticipates spending approximately $86m on the San Dieguito Lagoon Restoration Project.

  • The project has been on the drawing board for over 15 years.

  • The project is being performed by SCE as a mitigation project, for the loss of fish larvae and immature fish attributed to the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station 33 miles north of the project site.

  • SCE is the leader on the project, in partnership with the San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority (JPA), the City of Del Mar and the City of San Diego.

  • Visit and the SCE lagoon restoration site for more information.

  • SCE will be establishing a new greenbelt in the vicinity that will act as a physical dividing line between the City of San Diego and the North County of San Diego.

  • SCE is responsible for the performance and maintenance of the functioning wetland to year 2050 (based upon the time lined 40 year operation license for SONGS).  At that time, they will hand over future maintenance of the lagoon to the San Dieguito River Park (JPA).

  • The San Dieguito Wetland Restoration Project will include the San Dieguito River Park (JPA’s) 2¼ mile scenic trail system punctuated by viewing platforms and an interpretive visitor’s center.


  • Construction on the project began in September 2006, after all the relevant permits were obtained from local, state and federal agencies.
  • Construction is slated for completion the end of 2009.
  • The project entails the excavation of more than 2 million cubic yards of material, which in turn will create noticeable increases of salt marsh areas, fish population and wildlife at the site.
  • The project excavation will create additional water flow to the lagoon due to opening the inlet at Del Mar beach in perpetuity. It is anticipated that up to 25,000 cubic yards of beach sand material could be collected annually at the mouth of this river inlet, for distribution along the beach.
  • The project design includes the construction of 8,000 lineal feet of engineered earthen berms. These berms will protect the wetland from flood-borne sediments and could withstand a 100-year flood event.
  • The berms are expected to contain pipes, high enough to let water pass through during a heavy river-flow/ high-tide period.  With most of the sediments being controlled and directed via the river’s flow, there will be less chance of sediments choking the wetlands.  Instead, the sediments will reach the mouth of the river at the beach inlet for distribution along the Del Mar beach.
  • All of the material utilized for construction will be contained within the construction site. 
  • The project will have minimal impacts on the local traffic, since most of the machinery and equipment will be kept on the construction site.


  • This project will add more than 160 acres of new wetlands (including over 100 acres of tidal salt marsh land). In total, 440 acres of wetlands will be visible from both sides of the I-5.
  • This project is environmentally designed so that it has no negative impacts on the surrounding beaches or other areas. On the contrary, this project will provide positive environmental impacts.
  • This project has been designed to increase the biodiversity of marine life within the area. By the end of the project, the project will serve as a thriving fish hatchery, a refuge for migratory waterfowl and as an open space for recreational activities.
  • This project will protect the existing habitat and marine life of the lagoon both during and once construction is complete.
  • In addition to constructing the berms, four new nesting sites (two east and two west of the I-5) and one deteriorated nesting site (on the west side of I-5), will be created within the sub-tidal basin (encompassing approximately 16 acres). These nesting sites will provide a safe habitat for the migratory birds, including: Belding’s Savannah Sparrow, Snowy Plover, the endangered California Least Tern and the Light Footed Clapper Rail.
  • The project will provide appropriate habitats for endangered species; not only will the project be able to protect their habitats, but over time, stabilize their population too.
  • This project will positively affect more than 90 million people a year (250,000 vehicles per day) utilizing the I-5.  This compares with 5 million visitors each year to the Grand Canyon.


  • This is the largest wetland restoration project in San Diego County since 1995.
  • The last wetland restoration project took place at Carlsbad’s Batiquitos Lagoon.
  • The San Dieguito Wetlands Restoration Project involves members of the community from the following professions: biologists (plant, bird and wetland), coastal engineers, hydrologists, civil engineers, geotechnical engineers, geologists, archaeologists, paleontologists and scientists.
  • The design process for the project started back in 1991.
  • The following permitting agencies were involved prior to the beginning of construction: California Coastal Commission, California Department of Fish and Game, California State Lands Commission, Caltrans, City of Del Mar, City of San Diego, Regional Water Quality Control Board, United States Army Corps of Engineers, United States Coast Guard, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the 22nd District Agricultural Association.
  • The project has the full support and backing from the local public, state and federal agencies.
Finally, we would like to thank all of our supporters and partners for making this project a success.

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Last updated: 10/03/2011