Earlier this month, the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy, San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), and Caltrans broke ground on the San Elijo Lagoon Restoration as part of Build NCC, or the first phase of the North Coast Corridor (NCC) Program. The San Elijo Lagoon Restoration, also known as the Reviving Your Wetlands Project, is a joint effort that will result in a healthier San Elijo Lagoon, and greater public access and educational opportunities in the reserve.
The San Elijo Lagoon Restoration, which will be managed by the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy, is the result of nearly 20 years of grass roots planning and collaboration with SANDAG, Caltrans, and a multitude of other state and local resources, and is funded through $102 million of TransNet tax revenue. Enhancement efforts will occur simultaneously with work on Interstate 5 and the coastal rail line to reduce long-term construction impacts on the lagoon and its many residents.
The first phase of the restoration will include creating a nearly 40-foot deep overdredge pit in the lagoon’s central basin. The high quality sand removed during this process will be used to replenish some of North County’s beautiful beaches, including approximately 300,000-cubic yards at Cardiff State Beach and nearly 146,000-cubic yards at Fletcher Cove in Solana Beach. Sand replenishment at Fletcher Cove and Cardiff State Beach is scheduled to occur spring 2018. Beach access will remain available and a lifeguard will be on duty.
Subsequent phases of the San Elijo Lagoon Restoration include dredging various channels within the lagoon to increase tidal flow and improve the overall health of the lagoon, establishing new wetland habitat for the lagoon’s diverse wildlife, and creating new pedestrian trails within the lagoon. Visitors will be able to enjoy new trailhead connections and vantage points of the lagoon. As a result of the lagoon restoration and the work occurring along I-5, visitors will be able to complete a full loop within the lagoon’s east basin.
The San Elijo Lagoon Restoration is a key element of Build NCC as it encapsulates the long-term vision of the NCC Program by balancing transportation improvements with the preservation and enhancement of our coastal resources. To date, SANDAG and Caltrans have preserved and enhanced nearly 250 acres of open space and sensitive coastal habitat, including the Batiquitos Bluffs in Carlsbad, the Laser Property near the San Elijo Lagoon, and the Hallmark site near the Aqua Hedionda Lagoon.
In addition to the San Elijo Lagoon Restoration, two other transportation projects within the lagoon area are doing their part to increase the health of the lagoon. As part of Build NCC, construction crews are currently replacing the highway bridge over the lagoon, which will nearly double the width of the lagoon channel, while accommodating new carpool lanes, and crews busy at work on the San Elijo Lagoon Double Track Project, which includes the replacement of the rail bridge over the lagoon inlet with fewer support columns. Both projects will help increase tidal flow and improve the lagoon’s overall health.
To learn more about the San Elijo Lagoon Restoration, please visit SanElijo.Org/RevivingWetlands. For more information on Build NCC and regular updates on construction activities, please sign up for email notifications at KeepSanDiegoMoving.com/BuildNCC, follow the project on Twitter @BuildNCC, and enroll for text alerts by texting “BuildNCC” to 313131. Additional information can also be obtained by calling the construction hotline at (844) NCC-0050 or by emailing BuildNCC@KeepSanDiegoMoving.com.
About Build NCC
Build NCC is the first phase of construction in the cities of Solana Beach, Encinitas, and Carlsbad as part of the North Coast Corridor Program. Build NCC includes extending the existing carpool lane on I-5 in each direction from Lomas Santa Fe Drive to State Route 78, double tracking the rail line and replacing the highway bridge at the San Elijo Lagoon, replacing the rail bridges at the San Elijo and Batiquitos lagoons, restoring the San Elijo Lagoon, and constructing nearly 10 miles of new bike and pedestrian trails. Construction on Build NCC began in early 2017 and will be complete by 2021.