Addressing the primary drivers for Los Peñasquitos Lagoon’s impairment in conjunction with abatement of the impacts they generate is essential for the successful and sustainable recovery of the Lagoon’s native habitats and ecosystem services. With this in mind, a comprehensive and watershed-based approach was selected to integrate the update of the Los Peñasquitos Lagoon Enhancement Plan (LPLEP) with Water Quality Improvement Plan (WQIP) developed for the Los Peñasquitos Watershed by the City of San Diego, who took the lead role since their jurisdiction extends beyond 70% of watershed. Both planning documents prioritize the recovery of the Lagoon’s native salt marsh habitat with LPLEP providing the guidance for design and implementation for lagoon improvements supported by load reduction efforts for sediment, bacteria, and dry weather inputs of freshwater to be pursued within the watershed under the WQIP. Lagoon improvement concepts developed and evaluated in the LPLEP used an innovative approach that included public input, stakeholder-driven criteria, baseline analysis of lagoon conditions verified by field investigations, and Habitat Trajectory Modeling using a modified version of the Sea Level Affecting Marshes Model (SLAMM). A preferred lagoon improvement concept was selected to provide the greatest opportunity to provide multi-benefits that include strengthening Los Peñasquitos Lagoon’s resiliency to urban stressors and climate change while facilitating the implementation of sustainable, large-scale salt marsh restoration in an area currently dominated by Italian Rye Grass (Festuca perennis) and brackish habitat. The preferred lagoon improvement concept also meets San Diego County vector management priority needs by facilitating the dewatering of areas consistently inundated by fresh and brackish water that provide preferred breeding habitat for Culex tarsalis.
Click on the images below to download information the beneficial uses of Los Peñasquitos Lagoon and effort to protect them using a watershed-based approach to improve water quality.
San Diego Basin Plan (2016)
Water Quality Improvement Plan for the Los Peñasquitos Watershed