Los Penasquitos Lagoon Monitoring

What is Los Penasquitos Lagoon?

Los Penasquitos Lagoon (LPL) is a relatively small estuary located in northern San Diego county where the Los Penasquitos watershed meets the ocean. Three sub-watersheds located within the overarching Los Penasquitos watershed are drained by the Los Penasquitos, Carrol Canyon, and Carmel Valley creeks. Recently, due to the urbanization of the watershed, Carrol Canyon and Carmel Valley creeks, which used to only flow during the winter months are now flowing year round causing a shift in vegetation species (from salt marsh to brackish).

Historically, the lagoon was known to be open to the sea year-round. However, increased sedimentation from agricultural and grazing practices as well as railroad construction during the 1920s and 30s brought about a pattern of seasonal mouth closure. In the 1960s, the dumping of treated waste from upstream sewage plants led to high levels of nitrate and phosphate content in the water. Algal growth and decomposition levels skyrocketed, resulting in depleted dissolved oxygen levels in the water. During this time, mosquitoes and midges thrived, while most of the other wildlife died off and decomposing matter accumulated at the lagoon mouth.

How are the problems being dealt with?

In 1985, California Coastal Conservancy developed an LPL Enhancement Plan to deal with the degradation of the lagoon. The Los Penasquitos Lagoon Foundation was put in charge of management and formulated a plan to monitor the water quality and open the mouth mechanically before water quality became too poor to sustain living organisms in the channel. The Pacific Estuarine Research Laboratory (PERL) was contracted to monitor the lagoon and its organisms from 1987-2004. The studies performed by PERL helped the timely opening of the mouth and the understanding of the lagoon’s ecosystem. In 2004, the Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association and Tijuana National Estuarine Research Reserve took up the responsibility of monitoring LPL.

What kind of monitoring is done at LPL?

Water quality is measured by a datalogger placed near the lagoon mouth, which takes readings of turbidity, pH, chlorophyll, salinity, temperature, and water depth. Spatial water quality, taken every two weeks, measures water temperature, salinity and dissolved oxygen at different depths of the mouth at three different stations in the lagoon. Flow rates at the different tributaries of LPL are measured monthly.  Additionally, vegetation surveys are taken twice a year  in the lagoon area to document the transition of vegetation species and habitat due watershed urbanization. When mouth closure occurs, this monitoring data is used for the justification and timing of the mechanical mouth opening so that the lagoon remains a thriving natural habitat.

Previous Reports:

2009-2010 LPL report

Training Workshops

Are you are a coastal decision-maker interested in future trainings?

Please contact Kristen Goodrich, Coastal Training Program Coordinator, for more information:  kgoodrich(at)trnerr.org.

 

CURRV Stakeholder Workshop Series

2013 – 2016

This workshop series is designed to generate input from regional stakeholders, including experts and local public agencies, on the development of climate adaptation strategies for the Reserve and the Tijuana River Valley. Click here for further information.

Strategic Framing of Climate Change Conversations

June 15, 2016 | Workshop Materials

Based on the framework and techniques developed as part of the National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation (NNOCCI) project, participants learned how to use “strategic framing” to tell a story about climate change that can help communicators to engage audiences in positive ways.  Attendees learned how to use framing elements including tone, values, metaphors, and solutions.

Hosted in partnership with Sea Life Aquarium and the Climate Science Alliance- South Coast.

Climate Change Adaptation Planning for Tribal Nations

June 7-8, 2016

This 3-day course provided an introduction to planning for climate change impacts, with examples of tribes that have been going through the adaptation planning process. The course was intended for tribal environmental and natural resource professionals, with a specific focus on tribes in the Southwest. Topics covered include: (1) Overview of climate change and impacts in the region; (2) Process of developing climate change adaptation plans, from getting started, to impact and vulnerability assessments, to developing adaptation strategies; and (3) Tools, resources and partnerships for adaptation planning.

Hosted in partnership with the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals- Northern Arizona University, Pala Band of Mission Indians, and the Climate Science Alliance- South Coast.

Climate – Smart Conservation training

June 2 & 3, 2016

This one day overview class was based on the guide Climate-Smart Conservation: Putting Adaptation Principles into Practice. The course provided an introduction to climate adaptation for application to on-the-ground conservation. It provided an overview of how to craft climate-informed conservation goals, to carry out adaptation with intentionality, and how to manage for change and not just persistence.   The course was offered at two separate locations on back-to-back days at the California Department of Fish & Wildlife offices in San Diego and Los Alamitos.

Hosted in partnership with the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) and the Climate Science Alliance- South Coast.

Understanding the Coastal Commission’s Sea Level Rise Guidance

March 29, 2016 | Workshop Resources

In the morning session, participants learned about current sea level rise efforts occurring across San Diego County; and the Coastal Commission’s updated Sea Level Rise Guidance and how it can be applied to local planning and decision-making.  In the afternoon session, participants learned more about approaches for long-term sea level rise planning (e.g., trigger approach), and partook in interactive discussions that explored how phased approaches to SLR planning can be incorporated into local goals and planning processes.

Developed in partnership with the California Coastal Commission and the San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative.

Planning for Sea Level Rise using the New Coastal Storm Model

November 18, 2015 | Workshop Resources

Introductory overview of the new USGS Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS) for the South Coast.  Participants learned: (1) what the San Diego region is doing to prepare for sea level rise; (2) what the CoSMoS model is; and (3) how CoSMoS can inform local planning.

Developed in partnership with USC Sea Grant, USGS, and the San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative.

Climate – Smart Conservation training

November 6, 2015 | Flyer

This one day overview class was based on the guide Climate-Smart Conservation: Putting Adaptation Principles into Practice. The course provided an introduction to climate adaptation for application to on-the-ground conservation. It provided an overview of how to craft climate-informed conservation goals, to carry out adaptation with intentionality, and how to manage for change and not just persistence.

Hosted in partnership with the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) and the Climate Science Alliance- South Coast.

Managing Visitor Use in Natural Protected Areas

November 3 & 4, 2015 | Agenda | Workshop Materials

During this introductory workshop, participants were provided with tools to monitor and manage visitor use, balancing natural resource conservation with visitor experience. The course was taught by NOAA Office for Coastal Management expert training staff featuring local case studies. Participants learned about:

  • Recreation and visitor use management planning frameworks
  • Visitor use issues, including visitor-resource and visitor-visitor impacts
  • Developing measurable indicators for monitoring impacts
  • Implementing visitor use monitoring and management strategies

Hosted in collaboration with WildCoast and Climate Science Alliance- South Coast.

Successful Adaptation & the Tijuana River Valley

August 27, 2015 | Agenda

Attendees learned about techniques for and examples of measuring “successful adaptation” through the development of indicators/metrics.  Throughout the workshop the newly learned skills were applied by: (1) collaboratively exploring what successful climate adaptation looks like on-the-ground in the Tijuana River Valley; and (2) considering what metrics/ indicators can be used to measure and propel us toward regional resiliency.

Introducing Green Infrastructure: Approaches to Prepare for San Diego’s Changing Climate

April 29, 2015 | Agenda

Presentations & Resources | Summary Report

During this full-day introductory workshop, participants learned fundamental green infrastructure concepts and practices that can play a critical role in making our communities more resilient to a changing climate. Through presentations by local practitioners and group discussions, participants learned about local projects designed to address stormwater through green infrastructure strategies, and ways in which these projects can meet both water quality and other community goals.  Participants were introduced to:

  • Green infrastructure terms, concepts, and practices
  • Ecological, economic, and societal benefits of green infrastructure
  • Using green infrastructure to prepare for a changing climate
  • A wide variety of contexts and scales for implementation of green infrastructure projects
  • Innovative resources for implementing green infrastructure

Developed in partnership with the San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative and NOAA Office for Coastal Management.

One Watershed, One Future: Preparing for Climate Change

March 10, 2015 | Agenda | Presentations & Resources (English, Spanish)

A binational exchange of information and ideas regarding conservation of the Tijuana River Watershed along the US-Mexico border, with a focus on climate change.  Participants will:

  • Become familiar with the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS), specifically the Tijuana River NERR (TRNERR) and its efforts on climate change adaptation
  • Learn about the California Landscape Conservation Cooperative (CA LCC) and the San Diego Climate Science Alliance, and explore opportunities for future collaboration
  • Better understand regional climate change impacts, and climate-smart approaches for preparing our communities for the future
  • Build skills in assessing vulnerabilities to climate change, and evaluating adaptation strategies

Developed in partnership with the California Landscape Conservation Cooperative, California Department of Fish & Wildlife, and California State Parks.

Orange County Regional Sea Level Rise & Coastal Impacts Outreach Workshop

February 23, 2015 | Agenda

This training facilitated a regional discussion around planning for sea level rise in light of new science, policy guidelines, and management approaches.  Participants gained new skills as the following objectives were met:

  • Provide information about USGS’s Coastal Storms Modeling System and how it relates to other regional sea level rise models & tools
  • Discuss current initiatives in the region and opportunities for collaboration
  • Provide training on vulnerability assessments and adaptive management in planning for sea level rise impacts
  • Encourage networking with municipalities & regional partners and share information about ongoing sea level rise planning efforts in Orange County

Developed in partnership with USC Sea Grant, the FloodRISE project at the University of California, Irvine, the County of Orange, and the California Coastal Conservancy.

Planning & Facilitating Stakeholder Meetings

February 10 & 11, 2015 | Agenda

Planning and facilitating multiple stakeholder processes, such as Climate Action Planning, can be complicated, requiring a systematic approach. This course provided the skills and tools to design and implement collaborative approaches to balance various stakeholder interests.

After completing this course, participants are able to:

  • Design meetings that enhance problem solving and minimize conflict
  • Practice facilitation skills
  • Use appropriate process tools and techniques to address the meeting objectives
  • Manage conflict in meetings by understanding group dynamics
  • Identify disruptive behaviors in group processes and practice strategies to deal with them

The course was taught by NOAA Coastal Services Center’s expert training staff.  Hosted in partnership with the San Diego Climate Collaborative,

Estuaries and Climate Change Workshop

December 15, 2014 | Agenda

Participants gained new skills on how to manage climate resilient estuaries by discussing new science, modeling, and management approaches.  The workshop objectives included:

  • Gain a better understanding about USGS’s work on modeling habitat response and migration to sea level rise and how it relates to other models & tools
  • Provide training on “climate-smart conservation”, including how to conduct a vulnerability assessment, and the range of adaptation strategies available to natural resource managers
  • Learn more about the CA Landscape Conservation Cooperative and what resources it can provide agencies

Developed in partnership with US Geological Survey (USGS) and the California Landscape Conservation Cooperative (CA LCC) .

San Diego Regional Sea Level Rise & Coastal Impacts Outreach Workshop

October 30, 2014 | Agenda

This training facilitated a regional discussion around planning for sea level rise in light of new science, policy guidelines, and management approaches.  Participants gained new skills as the following objectives were met:

  • Provide information about USGS’s Coastal Storms Modeling System and how it relates to other regional sea level rise models & tools
  • Discuss the regulatory and policy frameworks relevant to sea level rise
  • Provide training on “adaptive management” and the range of adaptation strategies available to a community
  • Encourage networking with municipalities & regional partners and share information about ongoing sea level rise planning efforts in San Diego

Developed in partnership with USC Sea Grant, San Diego Climate Collaborative, The San Diego Foundation, & the California Coastal Conservancy.

Navigating in Rough Seas: Planning and Facilitating Collaborative Meetings

May 29 – 30, 2014

This course provided the skills and tools to design and implement collaborative approaches to balance multiple stakeholder interests. After completing this course, attendees were able to:

  • Determine if a collaborative process is appropriate
  • Design meetings that enhance problem solving and minimize conflict
  • Select people with the skill sets needed to fill each meeting role
  • Practice facilitation skills
  • Use appropriate process tools and techniques to address the meeting objectives
  • Manage conflict in meetings by understanding group dynamics
  • Identify disruptive behaviors in group processes and practice strategies to deal with them.

The course was taught by NOAA Coastal Services Center’s expert training staff.

Annual South San Diego Water Quality Workshop

November 20, 2013* | Flyer

This two-hour workshop was held to provide recreational users and local decision-makers with information and practical tools to better understand water quality monitoring, the process that influences beach closures and advisories, and how to safeguard human health.

Developed in partnership with County of San Diego’s Department of Environmental Health, Surfrider, and WiLDCOAST.

*Previous workshops were held on December 7, 2010;  October 12, 2011; and December 13, 2012.

Climate Adaptation for Coastal Communities

October 1 – 3, 2013 | Flyer | Agenda

This intensive and highly interactive three-day training course provided individuals with a climate adaptation toolkit to proactively address adaptation planning in the context of local priorities. The course was taught by NOAA Coastal Services Center’s expert training staff and local partners. After completing this course, participants were able to:

  • Recognize the changes and variability in climate, and its influence on coastal communities
  • Examine methods for conducting hazard, vulnerability, and risk assessment as it relates to climate change
  • Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of adaptation strategies
  • Communicate effectively with target audiences
  • Identify opportunities to leverage a range of governance mechanisms to integrate adaptation strategies into existing efforts

Hosted in partnership with the San Diego Climate Collaborative.

Beyond Bathtub: Modeling and Responding to Sea Level Rise and Shoreline Change

December 19, 2012 |  Agenda | Summary Report

This workshop was designed to help local city planners and environmental managers better understand sea level rise and shoreline change modeling.  The workshop allowed scientists to hear from planners/ managers about management needs and tool utility to inform future research and modeling efforts. Likewise, planners/ managers heard from scientists about the state-of-the science regarding climate change modeling and application constraints. The workshop served as a venue for this bi-directional information transfer to occur.  Click here to access workshop presentations.

Developed in partnership with California Ocean Protection Council, University of Southern California Sea Grant, and West Coast Governors Alliance on Ocean Health.

Stakeholder Assessment in Adaptation Planning: A Mini-Summit

December 18, 2012

A convening of coastal climate adaptation practitioners to:

  • Experiment with new ideas in the field of adaptation planning
  • Enable peer-to-peer sharing of experiences and reflections on the opportunities and challenges of the human dimensions of adaptation planning and stakeholder engagement
  • Identify future collaborations

Annual South San Diego Water Quality Workshop

December 13, 2012* | Agenda

 

This two-hour workshop was held to provide recreational users and local decision-makers with information and practical tools to better understand water quality monitoring, the process that influences beach closures and advisories, and how to safeguard human health.

Developed in partnership with City of Imperial Beach, County of San Diego’s Department of Environmental Health, San Diego Coastkeeper, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Surfrider, and WiLDCOAST.

*Previous workshops were held on December 7, 2010 and October 12, 2011

 

 

Working Together to Get Things Done: A Collaborative Learning Training

June 27, 2012

This two-day training helped build capacity to work with people who have different priorities, viewpoints, and knowledge in order to achieve resource management goals.  The training was custom-designed by Dr. Chris Feurt and NOAA’s Science Collaborative Team to begin to collaboratively address priority action areas in the Tijuana River Valley Recovery Team Recovery Strategy, while helping to build capacity among organizations that work on issues of binational importance.

 Meet your Underwater Park

February 4, 2012

This workshop was developed to inform coastal decision-makers and user groups about the newly designated south coast Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) through the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA), with a focus on the Tijuana River Mouth State Marine Conservation Area.  Attendees were presented with information about:

  • What MPAs are and why they are needed
  • The MLPA process and stakeholder engagement approach
  • Success stories about other Marine Reserves and benefits to coastal communities

Attendees were also provided with maps of MPAs, MPA tools, and were informed about public involvement opportunities including monitoring.

Developed in partnership with WiLDCOAST.

Tijuana River Valley Recovery Team (TRVRT*) Workshop Series:

Workshop #1 – April 20, 2010 | Agenda
Workshop #2 – September 22, 2010 | Agenda
Workshop #3 – December 7, 2011

TRVRT Workshop #1 highlighted the need for more in-depth coordination among the responsible parties for each resource management area. At Workshop #2, participants worked together to identify the challenges and opportunities to integrate recovery across resource management responsibilities and across the International Border.  Finally, Workshop #3 introduced the Recovery Strategy to stakeholders wishing to provide input.

*The Tijuana River Valley Recovery Team (TRVRT) is a collaboration of more than 30 federal, state, and local agencies from both the U.S. and Mexico organized to implement recovery of the Tijuana River Valley.  For more information click here.

Coastal Habitat Conservation in a Changing Climate: Strategies and Tools for Southern California

November 16-17, 2011

This Southern California-focused workshop on climate change and coastal habitats was developed for those directly involved in the planning and implementation of coastal habitat conservation activities in the region, including habitat protection and restoration efforts.  Workshop activities included:

  • Identifying and prioritizing key climate impacts for coastal habitats in the region
  • Examining various tools, best practices, and specific examples for assessing vulnerability and taking action to promote resilience and adaptation of coastal habitats in a changing climate
  • Initiating development of collaborative conservation strategies for coastal habitats that incorporate and respond to climate change information
  • Identifying priority needs and possible solutions for improving conservation of coastal habitats in a changing climate

Digging In: A Workshop on Community-based Restoration

September 21, 2011

This workshop was designed for restoration and stewardship coordinators, focusing on the value of leading volunteers in ecological restoration projects, ecological restoration methods (including some restoration theory as context), and how to successfully manage volunteers in the field during an event.

Sea Level Rise Adaptation Strategy for San Diego Bay Stakeholder Workshop Series:

 

Workshop #1 – November 1, 2010
Workshop #2 – March 30, 2011
Workshop #3 – August 4, 2011

This workshop series was designed to generate input from regional stakeholders on the development of the Sea Level Rise Adaptation Strategy for San Diego Bay for the 5 bay cities, the Port District, and the Airport Authority.

 

 

Assessing Vulnerability to Climate Change: A Conservation Planning Approach

May 23, 2011 | Agenda

This workshop was offered during the 2011 Headwaters to Ocean (H2O) Conference in San Diego. The free half-day training event was designed to:

  • Provide methodological, technical, and scientific guidance for conducting climate change vulnerability assessment and development of adaptation alternatives for landscape scale planning
  • Assist participants in assessing the vulnerability of resources and infrastructure from a variety of stressors including climate change
  • Support the enhancement of strategies and options for resource management

Developed in partnership with Ecosystem-Based Management Tools Network and NatureServe.

 

Communicating Climate Change: Meeting the Challenges of Effective Public Engagement

March 7, 2011 | Agenda

This full-day training event was developed by a collaborative of professional trainers and Dr. Susanne Moser, a national expert in climate change communications and adaptation. Participants were trained in:

  • Setting audience-specific communication goals
  • Communicating climate change impacts and adaptation
  • The importance of framing
  • Tools to communicate climate change risks and uncertainties and respond to climate denier arguments
  • Communicating to empower

Developed in partnership with Center for Ocean Solutions, NOAA Coastal Services Center, San Francisco Bay Coastal Training Program, and San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission.

Building a Foundation for Coastal Smart Growth in San Diego

August 10-11, 2010 | Agenda

Designed by NOAA Coastal Services Center, this two-day training workshop  provided examples, strategies, tools and techniques to implement alternative development principles in coastal and waterfront communities.

This course has been held across the country to assist local coastal decision-makers who plan, design, build, approve, or have an interest in development at the water’s edge that accommodates environmental, economic, and quality of life considerations.

Participants leave the course with:

  • An understanding of current coastal development patterns and trends and the primary drivers (e.g., codes, regulations) that influence growth and development patterns
  • An understanding of the impacts and benefits of various development patterns, including how development patterns can affect community resilience to natural hazards and sea level rise
  • A process of creating a collective vision for how and where coastal communities grow
  • Tools and techniques for implementation of integrated and comprehensive growth strategies and other Smart Growth principles that achieve multiple community goals
  • Increased ability to effectively communicate with stakeholders on this topic

“Planning for Climate Change” Workshop Series:

Planning for Climate Change I workshop

Planning for Climate Change I: Coastal Adaptation in the San Diego Region

May 14, 2010 | Agenda

This full-day training workshop laid a foundation in science but primarily focused on actions that can be taken to prepare and adapt to the anticipated impacts of climate change. The local workshop was informed by The San Diego Foundation’s Regional Focus 2050 Study, which is intended to provide key decision-makers science-based assessments of climate change impacts, and by ICLEI’s national expertise in adaptation planning.

Planning for Climate Change II: Engaging the Public on Impacts, Risk, and Adaptation

June 17, 2010 | Agenda

At the second full-day training workshop  national adaptation expert, Dr. Susi Moser, worked with participants on pressing issues including: Climate Change Risk Perceptions, Challenges of Communicating Impacts and Adaptation, and Public Engagement in Climate Change Adaptation Planning.  This workshop covered techniques to address (1) the unique challenges associated with communicating climate change impacts and adaptation options to stakeholders, and (2) differences in risk perception, which influences policy, decision-making, and how the public engages in climate change adaptation.

 

Developed in partnership with ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, NOAA Coastal Services Center, and the San Diego Foundation.

 

System-Wide Monitoring Program

The Tijuana Estuary participates in the National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) System Wide Monitoring Program (SWMP). This program is designed to measure changes in estuarine water quality, habitat and land use and provide information on environmental trends. For more accurate and visual data, GIS data collection methods are often used for monitoring projects. The National

Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) funds SWMP which is standardized throughout the NERR system.

Part of  SWMP includes the  system monitoring of Los Penasqutos Lagoon in northern San Diego County. To learn more, visit Los Penasquitos Lagoon Monitoring.

Weather Station

The weather station monitors temperature, rainfall, humidity, barometric pressure and wind speed and direction. The Tijuana Estuary’s weather station is located just outside the Visitor Center. For near real time weather data click here.

Data Loggers

At the Tijuana Estuary, three YSI 6600 data loggers are used to measure water depth, temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, turbidity (cloudiness or clarity) and pH. The Tijuana Estuary staff monitors three units.  (Visit http://cdmo.baruch.sc.edu/get/export.cfm to see data logger data from the 28 NERRs.) The data logger units are immersed in the water at three different sites and continuously measure at 30 minute intervals. The units are retrieved and calibrated every two weeks at low tide. After the data has been downloaded the data loggers are replaced.

Fish, Invertebrate and Vegetation Monitoring 

Vegetation and soil salinities – Soil salinities and vegetation parameters are measured at 12 monitoring station located in three habitat types: low-marsh, marsh plain and high-marsh.

Fish monitoring – Fish and mobile macro invertebrates are caught, identified, counted and later released. The data allows researchers to determine fish and crab densities, population size and relative species composition.

Invertebrate monitoring – Core samples are taken back to the lab. Once animals have been picked out of the sample, individuals are identified to the lowest taxonomic level possible and enumerated.