Tijuana Estuary Tidal Restoration Program

The Tijuana River and its estuary are dynamic systems. The forces of flood, erosion, sedimentation, storm and fire constantly change the face of the river, the estuary, and other habitats. 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, land filling, and extended periods of sewage contamination have significantly altered the environmental factors that control these sensitive habitats. Restoration and protection of these communities are the focus of our effort today.

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 valuable habitat processes 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 to ensure the estuary is a sustained natural habitat.

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, a long abandoned sewage treatment basin area known as the “tidal ponds” was connected to Oneonta Slough. Through channel connections, Oneonta Slough meets up with the ocean and thus changes along with the daily oceanic 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 Model/Friendship Marsh

This Model Marsh, created in 1999-2000, was the first phase of the larger Friendship Marsh project. It is a unique and innovative project that focuses on the restoration of diverse ecosystems such as tidal mud flats, cordgrass habitat and marsh plain that were lost due to the deposition of sediment throughout the Tijuana Estuary over time. 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 and plans for further expansion in 2001-2002 were made.  More details on the project can be found here.

Goat Canyon Enhancement Project

Goat Canyon, or Cañon de los Laureles, 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 use 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. To find out more of this project read more here.

Funding for TETRP projects come from:

California Coastal Conservancy (http://www.scc.ca.gov)
US Fish and Wildlife Service (http://www.fws.gov/refuges)
US Environmental Protection Agency (http://www.epa.gov)
Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association (SWIA) (http://www.swia4earth.org)
The State of California (http://www.ca.gov/state/portal/myca_homepage.jsp)

Other Restoration Projects

Cañada de los Sauces

Napolitano Restoration

Sewage Ponds Restoration