Long before vast Spanish, Mexican and American cattle ranches changed the natural landscape of South Orange County, Aliso Beach had a seasonal estuary – a rare coastal wetlands. This last remaining lagoon in Laguna Beach can be restored if inland summer urban runoff is captured for reuse and the inland area of Aliso Beach is rehabilitated as a valuable coastal wetlands.
Fortunately, the South Laguna Civic Association is working with the county, city and South Coast Water District to capture a portion of summer urban runoff as a first step in re-establishing the natural creek flow since, presently, too much polluted water will drown out any future restoration effort. The Aliso Creek Urban Runoff Recovery, Reuse and Conservation Project is scheduled for operation soon.
As much as 90% of California’s coastal estuaries are now gone – sacrificed for marinas, power plants and development. Downtown Laguna Beach is built on an estuary floodplain.
Yet estuaries are the nurseries for fish populations like the Southern steelhead trout and federally protected Tidewater gobi, a keystone species indicating a healthy watershed and coast.
Significant grant funding is available to communities organized for action. Restoration in Malibu was the result of community action. The Malibu Restoration Project will improve the lagoon’s health and wildlife while reducing ocean pollution.
Do you want to “Bring the Lagoon Back to Laguna”? It is up to us. You can help by joining the effort. Contact [email protected] to learn more.
Mike Beanan, Laguna Beach