San Dieguito Lagoon Restoration Project Phase II

SANDAG and Caltrans, along with the San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority (SDRPJPA) as a partner agency, are pursuing a project to restore land in the San Dieguito River Valley. The San Dieguito Lagoon Restoration Project Phase II will convert former agricultural fields to saltwater wetlands and enhance and maintain the natural flood control channel.

The restoration is estimated to cost $87 million and is anticipated to begin in early January 2022.

The project will expand and enhance the efforts of Southern California Edison (SCE), which began restoring surrounding wetlands in 2011. Included in the project is the planting of native species, maintenance of wetlands within the Wetlands 19 and 6 sites, as well as the relocation of a single set of utility poles into an existing San Diego Gas & Electric utility corridor.

SANDAG will help assist SCE with the maintenance of the lagoon inlet to ensure it remains open to tidal flushing and provides sand to the beach.


San Dieguito Lagoon Wetland Restoration Project Phase II

Caltrans, SANDAG, and the San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority are beginning Phase II of the San Dieguito Lagoon Wetland Restoration on Monday, January 3, 2022. Approximately 84 acres of wetlands will be restored after the completion of the restoration in 2024.

Construction activities will require the closure of the Dust Devil Nature Trail to all public access Mondays through Fridays. The trail will be open on Saturdays and Sundays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. January-March and October-December. From April-September, the trail will be open on Saturdays and Sundays from 6 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. The parking lot will be closed while the Dust Devil Nature Trail is closed.

Crews will be removing non-native vegetation within the lagoon to prepare for the restoration. New native vegetation will be planted after completion. Construction crews will be hauling construction equipment and material on El Camino Real and Via De La Valle in the City of Del Mar. Please stay alert.

*Please note, construction schedules are subject to change due to inclement weather included forecasted rain, fog, or cold temperatures.

View the work area map below:

Trail closure map

Please check back here to receive the latest up-to-date construction notifications.

Project Benefits

The establishment of a mix of coastal wetlands that includes approximately 64 acres of tidal salt marsh, 15 acres of brackish wetlands, and enhance an additional five acres of riparian habitat to benefit local wildlife, supplementing restoration efforts completed within the San Dieguito Lagoon in 2011.

The creation of a new trail paralleling El Camino Real that will improve connectivity to the Dust Devil Nature Trail along the southern edge of the project area and extend north near the El Camino Real bridge for future connection to the Coast to Crest Trail.

The creation of a sustainable ecosystem that is prepared for future sea level rise and anticipated flood conditions.

map of restoration project phase ii

Environmental Process

The SDRPJPA, as lead agency has completed the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) for the San Dieguito Lagoon Restoration Project Phase II as required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The responses to public comments received on the Draft EIR are in Appendix R of the Final EIR.

SANDAG’s Environmental Mitigation Program (EMP) provides a portion of funds for this project that emphasizes the protection, preservation, and restoration of native habitats and local wildlife to offset the disturbance caused by the construction of regional and local transportation projects. The San Dieguito Lagoon Restoration Project Phase II is being done in conjunction with Caltrans to implement highway and railroad improvements as part of the Interstate 5 North Coast Corridor Program.

In October 2009, SANDAG entered into an agreement with SDRPJPA, for the exclusive rights to restore property owned by SDRPJPA (amended in 2016). At the same time, the City of San Diego elected to use a portion of the SDRPJPA property to mitigate the impacts associated with the El Camino Real Bridge Widening Project.

The plans of SANDAG, SDRPJPA, and the City of San Diego were combined in 2011 and launched the development of a restoration plan, engineering and technical studies, and environmental analysis for a larger restoration effort. In 2012, Caltrans and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers joined the three organizations in creating coastal wetland restoration plans for the lagoon that will build upon and expand previous restoration work.

Preliminary engineering, hydrologic modeling, and technical studies, for the restoration have been completed.

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