A two-year, $87 million wetlands restoration in the river valley just east of Interstate 5 remains on target for completion by summer 2024. The San Dieguito Lagoon Restoration Project Phase II encompasses 84 acres between the freeway and El Camino Real.
A fleet of earth-movers continues to remove soil and sculpt the terrain for a blend of habitats: open water, low salt marsh, mid-high salt marsh, coastal brackish marsh, riparian, coastal sage scrub and marsh upland. New riparian plants are taking hold south of the river between a utility corridor and El Camino Real. Grading is expected to continue to March and planting through July.
Construction includes a bridge to provide access for maintenance of existing restoration sites west of the freeway. The bridge will cross a new tidal creek.
On the east side, for the time being, Dust Devil Trail remains closed for safety during the workday.
The San Dieguito Lagoon Restoration Project Phase II adds to earlier restoration work completed in 2011 that brought expansive, open-water basins and improved tidal flushing to adjoining areas east and west of Interstate 5. Both phases are designed to create ecosystems that can sustain flooding and future sea level rise.
The San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority and San Diego Association of Governments partnered to plan the Phase II project as part of the 40-year, $6 billion North Coast Corridor Program. The JPA will serve as long-term manager of the restoration project after Caltrans’ mitigation obligation has been met. Caltrans also is managing construction.