Swimming Mule Deer & Dredging Spring Updates

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Central & East Basin Dredging Nears Completion

We are in the last phases of dredging in the Central and East basins at San Elijo Lagoon.By mid April, the Ross Island Dredge No. 10 will complete its dredging efforts and leave San Elijo Lagoon.

Above: The Ross Island Dredge No. 10 begins final dredging as it works its way parallel with Manchester Avenue, collecting sediments as a new channel is created.

Note, above, that a transitional habitat area has been created in the middle of East basin. This transitional area will provide habitat for plants and animals as sea level rises this century. The darker sediment is where we are composting cattails that were removed during vegetation clearing that occurred earlier in the project. No landfills, no transportation as composting is onsite. Composting cattails demonstrates continuous efficiencies in engineering and design as the lagoon restoration continues.

Above: See the (blue) new channel that will run parallel with Manchester Avenue, and better connect the Escondido watershed to San Elijo Lagoon and the Pacific Ocean.

Immediately after dredging at the ‘Figure 8’ pond, or island of refuge, a herd of Southern mule deer decided to take a swim and check out the new refugia recently created. And, a little lunch on their menu.

Above: This area in the East Basin, referred to as the Figure 8 pond due to its shape, recently had its sides sculpted, its bottom dredged of old sediments, and is now an island of refugia for birds and animals that can gain access to the area by water.

Above: Deer graze on new refugia island in East Basin.
Photo Courtesy: Wandering_For_Wonders


Above: Herd of deer swimming back from refugia island in the East Basin.
Photo Courtesy: Wandering_For_Wonders


Above: Deer return and easily crawl up and through the ESA (Environmentally Sensitive Area) fencing to the cover and camouflage of cattails.
Photo Courtesy: Wandering_For_Wonders

In the Central basin, the smaller Dixon Marine’s dredge, known as the John Debin, completed dredging the smaller channels nearest Solana Beach. The John Debin begins the final dredging of the Central Basin main channel (the area between the water control feature at the Nature Center and the railroad bridge). This area was excavated earlier this year to make it wider. The dredge will now remove the sediments in the channel making it deeper. Residents, businesses and nature center visitors can expect equipment noise and lights from ongoing dredging operations running 24 hours a day/6 days a week through April 2019.


Above: The John Debin dredge in the main channel near the Nature Center.

Each of these restoration activities contributes to the overall health and vibrancy of the lagoon and will enhance wetland and upland areas, improve tidal flushing, and support the surrounding lands and waters for native wildlife species.

On a recent field trip, a student shared, “I liked hearing the birds, and the sound of the wind rustling the leaves.” This restoration project is for now, and future generations, so that everyone might experience a love of nature.

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