The Rancho Santa Fe Post

Del Mar Tidal Wetland Reconstruction Underway

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A former parking lot used by the Del Mar Fairgrounds is being converted back into tidal wetland. Construction crews plan to dig up about 15 acres of dirt parking lot and restore it back to natural habitat for wetland wildlife. 

The three-phase project will coincide with an extension of the Coast to Crest Trail, a hiking trail that links Vulcan Mountain to the coast at Del Mar. 

During phase 1 the existing fill, which was brought in to create the dirt lot in the early 1970's, will be removed. Phase 2 entails conturing the land to provide livable habitat for wildlife. Lastly, phase 3 will see the addition of foliage.

The RSF Review reports:


By the time the project is completed in late March, workers will have excavated some 45,000 cubic yards of dirt. About 10,000 cubic feet will remain on the property to be used for land formations, while about 35,000 cubic feet will be hauled away to the landfill, said Joe Ellis, the construction superintendent.

The 22nd DAA is spending $2.25 million on the second phase of restoration project, said Dustin Fuller, supervising environmental planner with the agency. An earlier, smaller restoration project adjacent to the current project site cost $1.5 million and was completed in early 2015. When the second phase is completed, which consists of about 12 acres, a total of 15 acres of wetland will have been restored.

The work is essentially reversing actions carried out decades ago, when fill dirt was brought in to prevent flooding of the property. It has been used as a parking lot since the late 1960s or early 1970s, Fuller said.

Read the full story on the RSF Review.