Earth movers in the river valley just east of Interstate 5 aren’t building a strip mall. The earth work is part of an $87 million wetlands restoration.
The San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority is the driving force behind planning the two-year project, which encompasses 84 acres between the freeway and El Camino Real.
The San Diego Association of Governments and Caltrans are running the job as part of their 40-year, $6 billion North Coast Corridor Program.
The restoration will introduce a blend of habitats, including open water, low salt marsh, mid-high salt marsh, coastal brackish marsh, riparian enhancements, coastal sage scrub and marsh upland.
The project 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.
At the job site, in addition to earth movers, a crane is driving piles to support a small bridge that will cross a future tidal creek.
During construction, Dust Devil Trail is subject to intermittent closure.