California Wetlands and The Batiquitos Lagoon

California Wetlands and The Batiquitos Lagoon

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California Wetlands and The Batiquitos Lagoon

As the importance of wetland property has been brought to light by ecologists it is a wonder why so much of it is still being destroyed. In California there are development trade- off's that are made that will destroy one wetland while saving another. This will be seen using the Batiquitos Lagoon in Carlsbad, California as an example.

In 1987 an agreement was signed with the Port of Los Angeles and the state of California. This agreement allowed part of the Port of Los Angeles to be filled in for commercial development, if the Batiquitos Lagoon was restored. The Port of LA traded their funds to restore the Carlsbad Lagoon for the ability to fill in part of the LA harbor. This fill in project was to kill a large marine life, and to compensate for this the Port of Los Angeles was to forever protect the wildlife (mostly bird species) of the Batiquitos Lagoon.

The restoration of the Batiquitos Lagoon would include reintroducing tidal flow to the lagoon. After several years of commercial development and abusive farming on the shore of the Lagoon the tidal port had become blocked with sediment. However, during the years of blockage the Lagoon had converted from a saline environment to a freshwater one. The restoration of tidal flows to the Lagoon would alter the ecosystem to the Lagoon.

With the filling of the 383 acres of the Port of Los Angeles certain safe guards to the agreement had to be complied to. Since the filling of the Port and the killing of the marine life was a permanent process so must the restoration of the Lagoon be permanent. The key element of the agreement were as follows:

. The Port of Los Angeles would be allowed to fill 383 acres of deep water habitat in
the Outer Los Angeles Harbor
. All existing habitat of the Lagoon must be protected
. The restoration of coastal and tidally influenced species must be established.
. The Restoration Project is Forever
. The Lagoon will be preserved as an Ecological Reserve by the State of California
. The Lagoon must be maintained with a fund set up by the Port of LA and done by the
California Department of Fish and Game.

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With all of these agreements in place many sensitive species will be protected. The species that the restoration project will protect are the Western Snowy Plover, and the Belding’s Savannah Sparrow. Also with the opening of the tidal flushing the amount of Benthic Organisms will flourish and provide a much greater food source for the fish and birds. Beyond fish and birds there are many species of marine insects that live at the lagoon including the salt marsh water boatman, swallow tails, mosquitoes and several species of butterfly including the Monarch.

With the opening of the Lagoon to tidal flow there are many aspects that need to be considered. When there is an opening to the ocean not only will Saline Ocean water be able to flow into the Lagoon, but also Lagoon water will be able to flow out into the ocean. Every time the Lagoon/Ocean opening is opened the Lagoon waters and the Ocean waters must be tested. It is important that the bacteria levels of the Lagoon are not contaminating the ocean. When the ocean waters are tested they are not tested in front of the Lagoon outlet they are tested 100 meters off shore and 1,000 meter to the north and south of the outlet. The turbidity of these samples is being tested. Besides this testing regular tests and observations of the Lagoon and surrounding ocean are made to make sure that they are complimenting eachother instead of destroying one another.

While the Port of Los Angeles has since been filled and the enhancement project of the Batiquitos Lagoon is coming to a close it is important to understand what has been accomplished. Although they have lost a key section of the harbor and a good deal of marine life they have save a rare California coastal wetland. With the restoration of the wetland many local schools are teaching the elementary students the basics of environmental experimentation and restoration. This step toward education children at the earliest level the importance of the wetlands may be the biggest factor in saving and creating wetlands in California. However, it is important to understand that much of the restoration of wetlands in California comes from the destruction of other environmentally sensitive areas. Much of the general public does not understand the trade–off’s that come with the regulation of wetland restoration.
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