The San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve spans across 979-acres in the city of Encinitas and hosts over 700 species of plants and wildlife, including some rare and endangered species. Although the lagoon is supporting important ecosystem functions and wildlife, it is also experiencing severe human pressures. The hydrology of the lagoon over the years has been manipulated and sediment loads have been increased. Further, invasive plants proliferate the Reserve thus threatening the beautiful native flora.
The San Elijo Lagoon restoration planning and engineering project aims to develop restoration alternatives through preliminary engineering to protect diversity and quality of habitats through restoration of tidal circulation and ecological functions at San Elijo Lagoon. The San Elijo Lagoon Restoration Project will enhance and restore the biological functions and values of the San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve with a balance of habitat types, taking into account regional historic losses. The project will protect, restore, and maintain, via adaptive management, the San Elijo Lagoon ecosystem and the adjacent uplands. The draft EIR/EIS was published in July 2014. The final EIR/EIS is expected to be complete in spring 2015. Construction is expected to begin in fall 2015.