A long-sought compromise has been approved that will open the stagnant, reed-filled Buena Vista Lagoon to the sea and restore its native coastal marine habitat, but years of work remain before the transformation begins. Disagreements over whether the lagoon at the border of Carlsbad and Oceanside should remain freshwater or be restored to saltwater have stalled the project for decades.
A hard-fought compromise on the saltwater restoration of the Buena Vista Lagoon won the enthusiastic support of the Carlsbad City Council last week.
The agreement between property owners, nonprofits and multiple governmental agencies outlines a plan to remove the weir, or low wooden dam at the mouth of the lagoon, and excavate the entire 220-acre preserve to restore tidal flushing.
Silt has been steadily filling the lagoon since the weir was built in the 1970s, and in the last 30 years about 62 acres of the formerly open water has been filled by cattails and reeds. Without intervention, the lagoon would continue to fill with sediment and vegetation until it eventually disappears.