Restoration at the Estuary

The Tijuana River and its estuary are a dynamic system. The forces of flood, erosion, sedimentation, storm and fire constantly change the face of the river and the estuary and their habitats, flora and fauna. However, the changes produced by human activities since the mid-19th century are unprecedented in both their scope and impact on native communities. Decades of disturbances to the watershed, such as localized diking and land filling as well as extended periods of sewage contamination have significantly altered the environmental factors that control habitats. Restoration and protection of these communities are the focus of our effort today.

Tijuana Estuary Tidal Restoration Program
see also

The Tijuana Estuary Tidal Restoration Program’s (TETRP) is a large multi-phased wetland restoration program involving up to 500 acres of restoration. Its primary objective is to restore habitat values that have been lost and to increase the exchange of water in a tidal cycle. This will enhance flushing, improve water quality and control sedimentation.

TETRP Projects

Oneonta Tidal Linkage

The Oneonta Tidal Linkage project, completed in 1997, was designed to improve tidal circulation in areas of mudflat and salt marsh habitat. To accomplish this, an area known as the “tidal ponds”, a long abandoned sewage treatment basin, was connected to Oneonta Slough. Through channel connections, Oneonta Slough meets up with the ocean, thus is affected by the daily changes in tides.
This project quickly achieved its goals of providing 2 acres of habitat for wetland species and water quality benefits to some 200 acres of salt marsh vulnerable to sedimentation.

The Friendship Marsh

This Model Marsh, created in 1999-2000, is the first phase of the larger Friendship Marsh. It is a unique and innovative project that focuses on the restoration of diverse habitats such as tidal mud flats, cordgrass habitat and marsh plain as opposed to a single habitat restoration. Due to the deposition of sediment throughout the Tijuana Estuary over time these habitats were lost. In the midst of an urban environment many cooperating organizations designed and implemented a program that included excavation, re-vegetation and natural species colonization. Various researchers will monitor the restored tidal marsh for at least ten years to examine the biological success, as well as efficiency of restoration techniques. The 20-acre marsh was dedicated as Friendship Marsh on April 29, 2000. Planning to expand the marsh is underway in 2001-2002.

Goat Canyon Enhancement Project

Goat Canyon, called Cañon de los Laureles in Mexico, and its creeks are located within the Tijuana River watershed just inland of the ocean. This 4.6 square-mile sub-watershed contains steep slopes, sandy soil and rare coastal sage scrub and riparian habitats. Human activities and land uses have disturbed and altered this area increasing sedimentation and erosion, resulting in habitat losses, public access problems and safety hazards.

The Goat Canyon Enhancement Plan, completed in 2000, outlines a program for Goat Canyon. This program includes construction of sediment management basins and creek restoration. Final plans and environmental review are in progress in 2001 with construction expected in 2002-2003.

Funding for TETRP projects come from:
California Coastal Conservancy (
US Fish and Wildlife Service (
US Environmental Protection Agency (
Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association (SWIA) (
The State of California

Other Restoration Projects
Cañada de los Sauces