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Along the tidal channels in San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve, an increase of eelgrass habitat is creating an ecosystem full of life.
A recent marine habitat survey conducted by Nature Collective reveals that new eelgrass (Zostera marina) habitat is growing along the tidal channels in the lagoon. Before San Elijo Lagoon Restoration, the area near the inlet was the only location eelgrass was found. Now, eelgrass is significantly more established in the channels winding through the West and Central basins.
This is exciting news for a diversity of wildlife that depends on eelgrass, and for observers, like you!
Above: A team of Nature Collective scientists conducted this eelgrass survey in the West and Central basins of San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve. September 2021
This species is the most wide-ranging marine flowering plant in the Northern Hemisphere. Eelgrass is a green seagrass that grows in dense patches — you can see one of these areas from the Buhr Nature Bridge by the San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center.
Not to be mistaken for seaweed, this flowering aquatic plant provides refuge for young fishes and invertebrates to shelter from predators. Eelgrass also provides a sheltered spawning ground and foraging area. The delicate plant improves water quality and protects the tidal channels from erosion by stabilizing the channel floor.
See how wide the tidal channels are now? Thanks to San Elijo Lagoon Restoration, tidal flows are reaching farther and deeper into the lagoon and beyond into the East basin.
The presence of eelgrass habitat is a valuable indicator for water quality as it is sensitive to stressors, such as pollution and physical disturbance. Observing the spread of eelgrass habitat is one way we are monitoring the success of our San Elijo Lagoon Restoration project.
By providing healthier waters we are increasing wildlife diversity.
We invite you to visit the newly restored San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve.
Thank you, August + September Gifts
Connect. Experience. Protect.
Michel Hundhausen Bream
James + Mary Bushnell
Coastal Community Foundation, Encinitas Fund
Coastal Community Foundation, Golich Family Foundation*
Ron George + Tricia Takacs*
Jim + Carrie Greenstein*
Barbara & Ken Holland
Kohler Family, Fidelity Charitable Donor-Advised Fund
Stephanie Lindemann Mood
Ned + DeeDee Reynolds*
Debby + Tracy Richmond
Charles + Jenny Schalliol
Alexander + Barbara Stanculescu
Ronald + Susan Styn
Art & Sandy Yayanos*
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