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San Dieguito Lagoon Wetland Restoration

Del Mar, CA

Great Ecology was engaged by Marathon Construction to assist in the implementation of an 11-acre tidal salt marsh and upland habitat restoration plan for a former overflow dirt parking lot. Previously used by the Del Mar Fairgrounds, the site is now a key feature of the San Dieguito Lagoon along San Diego’s Coast to Crest trail system. Our team of ecologists and landscape designers led multiple restoration activities and provided ecologically-informed modifications to the existing restoration plan that ultimately led to successful project implementation. This included development of solutions to improve the quality of highly saline soils prior to plant installation to ensure better plant establishment, collection of native vegetation seeds, oversight of non-native species removal, plant installation oversight, and construction oversight. Following implementation, Great Ecology led a 5-year adaptive maintenance and monitoring plan to ensure successful restoration of this sensitive habitat.

An Innovative Solution

Prior to Great Ecology's involvement with the project, previous restoration attempts at the site failed due to high levels of salinity within the soil left behind by evaporation when the original salt marsh lost connection with the San Dieguito Lagoon.
Great Ecology developed a solution to reduce soil salinity via freshwater irrigation, among other necessary actions, that returned the soil salinity to tolerable levels for high salinity salt marsh plants within two years.

From Parking Lot to Wetland

San Dieguito Lagoon Wetland Restoration

Post-Construction Monitoring

Great Ecology is providing ongoing performance monitoring per mitigation requirements. This involves quarterly site visits to assess wetland health, the presence or lack of invasive weeds, and documenting wildlife within the marsh.
These assessments are used to inform maintenance needs, such as additional plantings, weed control, erosion control, and trash removal.

The Coast to Crest Trail

Running over 60 miles from the Pacific Ocean to the 5,850ft high peak of Volcan Mountain, the Coast to Crest Trail takes hikers through a selection of San Diego County's wetlands, chaparral, meadows, and forests.
Beginning on the western edge of the San Dieguito Lagoon, the Trail runs for nearly five miles through the Lagoon's wetland and upland habitats, directly along Great Ecology's restoration site.