Buena Vista Lagoon Enhancement Project

Buena Vista Lagoon

Buena Vista Lagoon is located in northern San Diego County, within the cities of Oceanside and Carlsbad. It encompasses approximately 220 acres, extending to the coastline from just east of I-5. 

Buena Vista Lagoon is the only freshwater lagoon in Southern California. It is protected from tidal influence by a beach berm and a man-made barrier, known as a weir, located at the lagoon mouth. 

Numerous federal, state and local agencies and organizations have cooperated in efforts to enhance the lagoon. In July 2012, SANDAG was asked to serve as the new lead agency for the environmental review process for the Buena Vista Lagoon Enhancement project. The SANDAG Transportation Committee approved the request, in recognition of the lagoon’s regional value and the importance of resolving long-term concerns regarding its caretaking. 

Environmental Process

The Buena Vista Lagoon Enhancement project includes completing engineering studies and preparing an environmental impact report (EIR). Four alternatives have been evaluated: three enhancement alternatives (freshwater, saltwater, and a saltwater/freshwater hybrid), or a no project alternative. 

SANDAG communicated with federal and state agencies, the cities of Carlsbad and Oceanside, stakeholders, and the public in considering alternatives through the EIR process.

In November 2018, the Final EIR was presented to the SANDAG Board of Directors for certification. At the request of the City of Carlsbad, a motion was approved to delay any action on the project for six months to allow residents to reach a consensus on the enhancement efforts.

The proposed modified saltwater alternative represents the result of this effort. SANDAG has completed its engineering and environmental analyses, which can be found under the “Documents” tab.

Public Meeting

On Friday May 22, 2020, the SANDAG Board of Directors adopted a resolution to accept the modified saltwater alternative, which will allow the Buena Vista Lagoon to connect directly with ocean waters to flush out sediments. View the meeting agenda

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