Could a multi-year, $700 million construction project right in the middle of multiple San Diego lagoons actually be beneficial to those wetland areas?
The Director of the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy says yes.
“Our organization looking at this saw a major opportunity, knowing that the end result is a positive for the lagoon,” said Doug Gibson.
A big benefit is the improved flow of ocean water in the San Elijo Lagoon. The current railroad tracks and freeway bridges hinder the movement of salt water. Gibson says the old bridges were not designed with the environment in mind.
“Redesigning bridges with the environment in mind can help focus flows and increase the in and out capability of water,” he said.
Gibson also claims the current railroad bridge has creosote-soaked wood that releases harmful toxins.
Increased water flow will benefit thousands of plant and animal species in the lagoon, and it will also expand their habitat into the eastern, inland areas of the lagoon, Gibson said.
Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty said this project will “improve the environment and leave it better when we’re done, rather than worse off when we’re done.”
The North Coast Corridor Project will also contribute $80 million to other environmental improvements and coastal research.
“We’re going to be able to monitor and track climate change and sea level rise, and how they impact the coastal system,” Gibson said.