Friday, March 27, 2009

Batiquitos Lagoon

Batiquitos Lagoon is a coastal wetland north of San Diego between the cities of Carlsbad and Encinitas. It is one of the few remaining tidal wetlands on the southern California coast of the United States. The area is run by the California Department of Fish and Game as a nature reserve.

My friend Pam and I went on a hike there last week. Fog was still hanging on to the water, and there wasn't as many birds as we expected, but it is still a nice place to be.

A coastal lagoon is a shallow body of salt water that is hydrologically connected to both an upland stream and the ocean. This interface between salt and fresh water creates an ecology unique to lagoons because they are both nutrient rich and sheltered (protected from wave action).

Now it is home to many plants, birds, and fish. But this was not always the case. During much of the 20th century, transportation routes built across the mouth of the lagoon cut the lagoon off from the ocean. With the connection to the ocean lost, the lagoon's water became less salty and sediment began to accumulate, reducing the lagoon's habitat value for plant and wildlife species.

The Port of Los Angeles began a project in 1989 to restore Batiquitos Lagoon to mitigate for the loss of deepwater fish habitat, caused by channel improvements and construction of land for cargo terminals in the Outer Los Angeles Harbor, in San Pedro Bay.

The restoration has been biologically successful and the construction of new land and cargo terminals at the Port of Los Angeles has been economically beneficial. Los Angeles got new ship terminals while San Diego got a Nature Preserve. Seems to me we got the better deal!

The ecosystem of the lagoon is gradually changing from a confined nontidal system with limited habitat value to a fully tidal, salt water system with greater habitat value. By restoring Batiquitos Lagoon, the Port has increased the lagoon's habitat value for fish and bird species. And it has given us a beautiful place to get in touch with nature. For more info, go to


  1. Love those photos, Lisa! Great job capturing that misty morning! Those palm tree shots are terrific!

  2. Lisa....I just love the photo with the sun and palm trees....gorgeous...and I can almost feel the sun's warmth.

    The lagoon area sounds like such a peaceful area to just get lost in....hehe!!

    Thanks for sharing!!