Cord Grass Nursery + Lagoon Restoration

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The East Basin of San Elijo Lagoon Is Going To Be Greener This Fall

Over a year and a half ago, when Reviving Your Wetlands, San Elijo Lagoon Restoration was beginning, biologists selected and transplanted native cord grass from the lagoon to an onsite restoration nursery.

As the sun rose and set each day, and while restoration crews contoured tidal channels, the grass anchored into the sediments and continued to thrive.

Photo above: Longer cord grasses were planted first. The shorter cord grasses were planted a year later. 

This flourishing 1-acre area of California Cord grass (Spartina foliosa) will soon be transplanted into newly created low salt marsh areas in San Elijo Lagoon’s East Basin, defined as the area east of Interstate 5, this fall. 

Above: The yellow area in East Basin is a transition area that will be planted with native plants, including alkali heath + goldenbush. 

Above: Alkali Heath (Frankenia salina)

Above: Goldenbush (Isocoma menziesii) | Photo by Barbara Wallach

As crews prepare for this fall planting, they are creating a temporary access area . This access area will allow crews to reach the transitional area.

Above: Temporary East Basin access area

California cord grass is an important plant at San Elijo Lagoon. Cord grass is the preferred habitat for the endangered Ridgway’s Rail. These chicken-like birds build nests with the hollow stems. They anchor their nests around upright stems which allows them to float on the tides without being rafted away.

Nature is amazing! And yet these birds do more. They bend cord grasses over the nests to camouflage it from above, and with a “ramp” between the nest and the ground. 

Ridgway’s Rail (Rallus obsoletus levipes) | Photo by Pam Polcyn

Share the Nature Collective blog with your colleagues and friends! We are passionately dedicated to share these beautiful changes underway for the health of San Elijo Lagoon, and for your outdoor happiness.

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