Underwater Meadows of Life



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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.

Christine Barton
Michel Hundhausen Bream
James + Mary Bushnell
Beatriz Cecena-Gonzalez
Eileen Chatterton
Coastal Community Foundation, Encinitas Fund
Coastal Community Foundation, Golich Family Foundation*
Patty Cornelius
Caroline DeMar
James Determan
Kelly Eveland
Virginia Fisher
Shara Fisler
Ron George + Tricia Takacs*
Jim + Carrie Greenstein*
Barbara & Ken Holland
James House
Angela Ivey
Kohler Family, Fidelity Charitable Donor-Advised Fund
Stephanie Lindemann Mood
Cindy Pedersen
Ned + DeeDee Reynolds*
Debby + Tracy Richmond
Charles + Jenny Schalliol
Alexander + Barbara Stanculescu
Ronald + Susan Styn
Audrey Terras*
Jane Weiss*
Allen White
George White
Jan Wier*
Art & Sandy Yayanos*

*President Circle

Your help is needed to continue helping nature + community thrive. Can you make a donation today? Together, we can further our vision to help everyone connect with nature, experience its magic, and protect it wherever we live.

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