An Island for Refuge



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Restoration Activities Will Increase in the East Basin

The East basin was cleared of vegetation prior to the start of nesting season last winter. This summer, crews made restoration progress by using excavators to sculpt the sides of what will soon be two new wider and longer channels that will better connect Escondido Creek with San Elijo Lagoon. 

Above: Excavators create new channels and also grade marsh habitat.

Much of this area was freshwater habitat with upstream waters sourced from Escondido Creek and by water from irrigated lawns along the perimeter of the lagoon. If you see cattails, it is a freshwater marsh.

This freshwater marsh was ideal habitat for fresh water mosquito breeding. As part of the restoration project, vegetation clearing and the removal of cattails occurred last winter.


Above: Design & engineering map of East basin. Blue indicates the increased tidal channels.

Observed nesting season ends on September 15. You will notice increased restoration activities taking place in the East basin. 

Beginning September 17, crews will begin to install environmentally sensitive fencing along the work area perimeter. Later, excavators will make their way into the area to start clearing the vegetation from the work area.

Above: Vegetation clearing in East basin this past winter. Biologists, pictured, monitor for wildlife prior to vegetation removal.

Above: Restoration work area

In the shaded area, above, the channels will be excavated and graded to create varied marsh habitats and an island refuge for birds. This to-come island is currently a peninsula. Making an island has the purpose of providing refugia, or an area for communities of species to thrive. This island will enhance the protection of endangered plants and animals, like the Ridgway’s Rail.

Above: Current view of the East basin pond. This popular overlook is located near the Santa Carina trail and is sometimes referred to as Tern Point.

Excavators will remove high-nutrient sediments from the channel around the new island making it deeper and wider so that salt water tides can reach this area.

Above: Excavator creating & grading marsh habitat in East basin.

Be sure to follow our blog as we bring you through each phase of the East basin restoration work.

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