San Elijo Lagoon Restoration Project
|Summary||The San Elijo Lagoon is located within the San Elijo Ecological Reserve in the southernmost part of the City of Encinitas. Due to historic impacts on the lagoon from surrounding development, the lagoon is degraded and remains in a state of continued decline. The applicant proposes to restore 960 acres of the San Elijo Lagoon by re-contouring lagoon elevations and configuring channels to achieve the desired improvements to water quality, water circulation and habitat mix. Staff recommends a variety of special conditions to protect from adverse impacts.
The proposed project is expected to significantly improve the circulation of the lagoon, water quality and the long-term biological productivity of coastal waters. It also takes sea level rise into account and is expected to decrease the number of flooding events on Manchester Ave.
ActCoastal partner Surfrider Foundation spoke in support of the project with two important dissents: 1.) The quantities and locations of material placement at beaches and offshore borrow sites was of concern, and 2.) regarding Special condition 9, the duration of surf monitoring should be extended.
|Outcome Description||The project proposed to deposit 300,000 cy of sand dredged from the lagoon onto Cardiff State Beach, which is more than three times the amount of sediment that has been placed at this location before. Concerned about potential impacts, the Surfrider Foundation suggested several alternative locations for sand deposit. Those concerns were somewhat mitigated with a modification that the applicant must submit a sand placement plan prior to construction.
Furthermore, the project proposes to deposit the rest of the several hundred thousand cubic yards of sediment dredged from the lagoon into offshore receiver sites. Early on in the project’s design phase, the Surfrider Foundation suggested adding surf monitoring to the project in order to document potential impacts the offshored sediment may have on nearby iconic surfing locations such as Swami’s and Cardiff Reef.
Coastal Commission staff had originally proposed 30 days of surf monitoring in Special Condition 9 and modified the special condition to 6 months in an addendum. However, with the variability of conditions throughout the seasons, Surfrider pushed the Commissioners to include a full 12 months.
Ultimately, the Coastal Commission approved the San Elijo Lagoon Restoration project and incorporated an amendment proposed by Commissioner Mark Vargas to Special Condition 9 to extend surf monitoring to a full 12 months.
|Why You Should Care||The proposed project is expected to significantly improve the circulation of the lagoon, water quality, and the long-term biological productivity of coastal waters. It also takes sea level rise into account and is expected to decrease the number of flooding events on Manchester Ave.
Placing an excess of sand on this beach may have unintended consequences including flooding, hazardous conditions for beach goers and impacts to surfing resources. By modifying Special Condition 9 to extend surf monitoring for a full 12 months post construction, the Commission is acknowledging the importance of surfing resources. This will serve as an important baseline of data that will inform future projects of the nature about the impacts of sand depositing on our beaches and surfing resources.
|Decision Type||Coastal Development Permit|
|Staff Recommendation||Approval with Special Conditions|
|Opposition to Project|
|Coastal Act Policies||Chapter 3|
Voting Detail for San Elijo Lagoon Restoration Project
|Mary K. Shallenberger|
View Meeting Page for the meeting where this issue was discussed/voted on.