Between the cities of Encinitas and Carlsbad in North County San Diego lies Batiquitos Lagoon. This beautiful coastal wetland is home to myriad species of fish, birds, and plants, and the carbon-storing superpowers of its seagrass beds and salt marshes act as a natural solution to climate change.
Unfortunately, encroaching development, rising sea levels, urban runoff, and an influx of invasive plant species threaten the health of this beautiful, diverse wetland.
Therefore, the dedicated stewards at WILDCOAST, and our partners at the Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation, are calling on the public to help conserve this amazing ecosystem by joining us for the 17th annual Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation Kayak Cleanup on Saturday and Sunday, October 21st & 22nd, 2023.
Batiquitos Lagoon encompasses 610 acres of brackish waters that are the outlet of the 55,000-acre San Marcos Creek watershed. The variety of habitats located within and around the lagoon cater to the needs of many local species that rely on the mudflats, coastal salt marsh, and brackish and riparian woodlands of Batiquitos Lagoon to grow and thrive. Above water, the area surrounding the lagoon is home to many endemic and native species, including over 200 species of birds like great blue herons, snowy egrets, and red-tailed hawks. Many of these birds are residents that call the Batiquitos Lagoon home for their entire lives, but there are also many migratory species that visit the lagoon every year on their travels.
Following the reopening of tidal flow in 1996 the once-confined, non-tidal waters again became a thriving tidal environment that is home to over 65 species of fish such as California halibut, largemouth bass, and bluegill. Spanning from the depths of the lagoon to the surrounding shores there is also a wide variety of plants such as pickleweed, saltgrass, arroyo willow, and elderberry.
There are also seagrass beds in the lagoon, many marsh and wetland plants in the intertidal zone, and a slew of riparian plants in the surrounding areas. The seagrasses and intertidal salt marsh make up what are called blue carbon ecosystems.
Blue carbon ecosystems are coastal and marine ecosystems that pull carbon out of the atmosphere and store it in the ground for potentially thousands of years if left undisturbed. When these ecosystems are properly managed and conserved, they can be a useful tool in the fight against climate change.
Unfortunately, coastal lagoons across California have been reduced to 10% of their historic range, dramatically reducing the habitat for native species and diminishing the ability of these ecosystems to adapt to the impacts of climate change, such as rising sea levels.
In the event of climate change induced sea level rise, the intertidal salt marsh could become fully submerged and the plants adapted to the intertidal conditions will drown. However, if the surrounding riparian habitat is maintained it can act as a transition zone where the salt marsh plants can migrate upwards as sea level rises and still function as an effective blue carbon ecosystem.
This is why the efforts of organizations like WILDCOAST, our partners and concerned members of the public are critical to the conservation of beautiful natural areas like the Batiquitos Lagoon. WILDCOAST has partnered with The Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation and Nature Collective to restore approximately 34 acres of riparian habitat surrounding the lagoon as a natural solution in the fight against climate change.
You can help save the special ecosystems of Batiquitos Lagoon as well. Visit the Batiquitos Lagoon Nature Center, learn more about the lagoon during their monthly speakers series, or take a hike along the 1.6 mile trail. Also, The Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation is calling on the public to join them for their 17th annual Kayak Cleanup on October 21st & 22nd, 2023, which is approaching quickly!
Typically the Batiquitos Lagoon does not allow any access on the water to the public, but this event is the one chance a year for members of the public to get on the water and help keep the lagoon clean. So don’t miss out on this rare opportunity because there are limited spaces available.
It will be a great opportunity to experience the lagoon first-hand and see the important work being done by WILDCOAST, the Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation, and Nature Collective to conserve this special place! Join us!