Agua Hedionda Caulerpa Taxifolia Eradication Program

Location: San Diego County

Project Type: Restoration

Status: Completed

Habitat Type: Exotics Control

Date Completed: 2006

Cost: $6,000,000

Area Affected: 364 acres

Assembly District: 76

Senate District: 38

Congressional District: 49

Project Lead/Grantee: Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation (Bob Richards, 760-434-4193)

Project Lead Website:

This project sought to survey and treat infestations of the invasive Caulerpa taxifolia (a non-native, aquarium strain of a highly invasive tropical algae with low light and cold tolerance that displaces native habitat and dependent species) in Agua Hedionda Lagoon, with the primary objective and fundamental goal to achieve full eradication.

As the centerpiece of a highly functioning tidal wetland system, the lagoon’s biota was under attack by the non-native invasive tropical algae Caulerpa taxifolia. The full eradication of this invasive species was a high priority for the federal and state agency resource managers and the lagoon owners. The presence of Caulerpa taxifolia in Southern California represents not only a threat to the water bodies in which it is currently known to exist, but Caulerpa taxifolia presents a significant threat to the entire coast of California. The opportunity to achieve full eradication still exists. If Caulerpa taxifolia were to spread to the Pacific Ocean, all coastal wetland ecosystems would potentially be at risk from this highly invasive tropical algae.

The Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation used funding from the Wetlands Recovery Project to support ongoing Caulerpa taxifolia eradication program at Agua Hedionda Lagoon. The Agua Hedionda Lagoon Caulerpa taxifolia eradication project consisted of five components: (1) Survey; (2) Detection; (3) Treatment; (4) Monitoring; (5) Public outreach and education.