Annual dredging of the San Dieguito River channel is set to begin Oct. 30, with two weeks of equipment mobilization and digging scheduled to clear a buildup of sand and open lagoon basins to tidal flushing.
As an added benefit, the excavated sand – an estimated 16,000 cubic yards of it – will be unloaded and spread on the beach south of the river mouth to 18th Street.
Up and down north San Diego County, inlets of coastal lagoons are routinely dredged to allow for saltwater exchange that is critical to the wetlands’ fragile ecology, which supports thriving communities of birds, marine life and vegetation.
The San Dieguito Lagoon inlet was last dredged in 2017.
The dredging is paid for by Southern California Edison and is part of a mitigation agreement that began around 2003 with a four-year, $100 million restoration of the San Dieguito Wetlands. The project created vast tidal basins west and east of Interstate 5. The utility agreed to the restoration and continued dredging of the river channel to compensate for marine life harmed by the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.
For the upcoming excavation project, a small fleet of heavy equipment will carve a throughway beneath the Camino del Mar bridge for dump trucks to carry the sand to the beach. Once the digging is done, the removal of a final plug of sand will coincide with low tide and allow water to flush from the lagoon basins into the sea.
Workdays will be scheduled from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and, if needed, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays. Equipment will be parked on the beach overnight and cordoned off for safety. Beach access south of the river and west of Camino del Mar will be closed.
For more information, the project’s community liaison, Kelly Sarber, can be contacted at (760) 613-5994.