Buena Vista Audubon Society Wetlands Reserve Restoration Project: 60% Design and Engineering

Location: San Diego County

Project Type: Restoration, Restoration Planning

Status: Current

Habitat Type: coastal sage scrub, subtidal, transition zone, vegetated marsh

Cost: 287,575

Funding Gap: 287,575

Area Affected: 3.5 acres

Project Footprint: 3.5 acres

Assembly District: 76

Senate District: 36

Congressional District: 49

Project Lead/Grantee:
Buena Vista Audubon Society (Natalie Shapiro, buenavistanature@gmail.com)

The 3.8-acre project site is owned and managed by the Buena Vista Audubon Society (BVAS) and is located along the northern shoreline of the Buena Vista Lagoon in the City of Oceanside. Past and present uses of the project site include passive forms of recreation, with a history of heavy disturbance including foot, bicycle, motor vehicle traffic, construction equipment, and piles of concrete and other debris. There has also been a loss of native habitat such as sage scrub around the Buena Vista Lagoon—areas that are important to wildlife. The project site is one of the last remaining open spaces left around the lagoon. However, it has degraded over time with invasive weeds and soil erosion and provides few ecological benefits. Due to its proximity to the ocean, the Project site will experience sea-level rise in the future; planning is needed to ensure there are wetlands and uplands habitat in the future. Runoff pollution from nearby streets and an adjacent earthen railroad berm enters the lagoon, which is on the State list of impaired water bodies for indicator bacteria, nutrients, and sedimentation/siltation. Additionally, the project site lies in a park-poor community in Oceanside with a lack of open spaces for residents to enjoy nature.

Phase II (60% design, permitting, and CEQA) of the restoration project is currently underway, with the goal to be completed in December 2023 or early 2024. Under this phase, BVAS is conducting three tasks: 1) permit applications with resource agencies and the cities of Carlsbad and Oceanside; 2) CEQA application with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife; and 3) 60% landscape design, grading plan, and draft habitat restoration plan.

The overall project components include expanding existing wetlands, removing invasive plants, conducting native revegetation, designing bioretention structures to collect and filter stormwater runoff, planning educational and recreational features, creating a long-term management plan, and engaging community members on design elements. The activities of Phase II will carry the Project through 60% design, to be ready for Final Design. Overall Project outcomes include expanding existing wetlands, restoring native habitat to allow wildlife movement between the Buena Vista Lagoon and transitional/uplands habitat, accommodating future wetlands migration, reduction of the pollutant load to the lagoon, and the enhancement of public access to nature.