Buena Vista Lagoon Enhancement Project Final EIR: Why the Saltwater Alternative selected by SANDAG staff is the best choice for the lagoon

We support the conclusions of the Buena Vista Lagoon Enhancement Project Final EIR and the recommendations of SANDAG staff that the Saltwater Alternative is the best alternative for the lagoon and the public.  It supports the project objectives more so than the other alternatives; it has the greatest benefit to water quality and biological resources, reduces flooding impacts the most, and has the greatest impact in reducing mosquito populations.

After millions of dollars and countless years spent on this project, we are pleased with the selection of the alternative, and we thank SANDAG for their hard work. The Saltwater Alternative is best for the Buena Vista Lagoon, the local community, and the taxpayers.  We urge the SANDAG Board to accept the recommendations of their staff, certify the Final EIR, and move forward on seeking funding for this vital project so that it doesn’t become relegated to the back shelf.

The Saltwater Alternative is the best alternative because:

  1. Maximizes species diversity & restores a rare coastal salt marsh: The Saltwater alternative would maximize species diversity and protection of threatened and endangered species. It would maximize restoration of one of the most critically impacted habitats in  California,  the  coastal  salt  marsh,  a  habitat  relegated  to  5-10% remaining acreage from historical conditions.  The coastal salt marsh is a very limited resource which can only exist near the ocean, as opposed to freshwater wetlands, of which there are plenty in San Diego County.  A saltwater lagoon will support native saltwater fish and other marine organisms that are currently excluded from the lagoon due to the weir. Mud flats would also be created, which are vital for foraging birds, but are at risk due to sea level rise.
  2. Largest benefit to water quality: The Saltwater Alternative has the largest benefit to improved water quality by allowing tidal exchange and increased lagoon circulation, and thus decreasing stagnation. Bacteria levels would decrease. This has a positive public health and safety benefit.
  3. Greatest benefit in terms of mosquito control: Mosquito populations would be most reduced with the Saltwater Alternative due to: a)Tidal action, which breaks the cycle of mosquito reproduction process and prevents establishment of stagnant ponds on lagoon edges; and b) The increased salinity reduces the ability of mosquitoes to reproduce.
  4. Flood control: Flood water elevations would be reduced the most under the Saltwater Alternative.
  5. Greatest benefit for curtailing growth of cattails and invasive species: A saltwater environment is unfavorable to the explosive growth of these freshwater-loving plants.
  6. Long-term maintenance costs are lower: The Saltwater Alternative is cheaper in the long-run as there is no need for costly dredging to remove fluvial sediment (which would pass through to the ocean). The littoral sand deposited at the mouth of the lagoon can be removed by backhoes. Maintenance would be similar to that of San Elijo Lagoon.

To see the Final EIR: http://keepsandiegomoving.com/buena_vista_lagoon_docs.aspx

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