ENCINITAS — Doug Gibson has spent two decades championing the cause of preserving and restoring the wetland habitat at the San Elijo Lagoon.
This week, several of the region’s officials honored him for that service by proclaiming May 2 to be “Doug Gibson Conservancy Leadership Day.”
County Supervisor Dave Roberts, Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar and Solana Beach Mayor Dave Zito presented Gibson with the recognition on Monday at Tower 13 in Cardiff-by-the-Sea. Serving as the backdrop of the event — the San Elijo Ecological Reserve where Gibson serves as executive director and principal scientist for the Lagoon Conservancy, which has stewarded the habitat restoration and preservation efforts.
“I am very proud of how far we have come over these 20 years,” Gibson said.
Located on the border of Encinitas and Solana Beach, the 979-acre lagoon is home to more than 700 species of plants and animals, many rare and endangered. The lagoon is also popular with runners, bird watchers and wildlife photographers.
Threatened with development in the late 1970s, the community fought to preserve the lagoon, and later the conservancy was founded to continue the restoration and conservation efforts.
According to a news release, Gibson’s leadership in annual lagoon mouth maintenance contributes to positive coastal water quality scores. Most recently in 2015, Gibson spearheaded the opening of a 1,000-square-foot native-plant nursery that will grow up to 3,000 plants that will be used during the restoration events.
“We can now grow them and put them back out into the habitat, and make the area more functional for those species who use it, us being one of those species,” Gibson said at the event.