San Elijo Lagoon Restoration Kicks Off

Works are underway to re-open the mouth of the San Elijo Lagoon at Cardiff State Beach by excavating the sands to allow ocean water back in, reports the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy.

According to the Conservancy, it is that time of year when the lagoon’s connection to the ocean—the inlet—closes when blocked by accumulated sand and sediment. The blockage causes low dissolved oxygen levels in the lagoon’s tidal channels.

During the winter storm cycles the inlet often becomes blocked by an accumulation of sand in the tidal channel,” the Conservancy said. “As temperatures rise in the spring, the demand for oxygen increases. Without the circulation provided by the ebb and flow of tides, the lagoon can become stagnant. The lagoon inlet, rarely, if ever, opens naturally. Each spring, and when needed, we mechanically breach a re-opening.”

Before the re-opening works, the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy, San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), and Caltrans started of the beach sand replenishment project as part of the Build NCC project to restore the San Elijo Lagoon.

Since late February, the dredge has been busy 24 hours a day, working Monday through Saturday. Starting at the Cardiff State Beach, the crews pumped approximately 300,000-cubic yards of sand to replenish the coastline. Sand was first placed south of the lagoon’s inlet, its connection to the ocean and then along the coastal strand to Fletcher Cove in Solana Beach.

The Conservancy concluded that this inlet excavation is more urgent than in recent years. “Crews will be excavating overnight to restore water flow. We were able to begin excavating efficiently by diverting equipment from San Elijo Lagoon Restoration over to the inlet re-opening—thereby speeding our response.


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