Preserving the AHL
Carlsbad's desalination plant requires a healthy environment and a
clean watershed to produce high-quality drinking water. The desalination plant ensures the continued
stewardship of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon and the surrounding watershed, and guarantees that the
citizens of Carlsbad will be able to enjoy the benefits of this clean Lagoon and its surrounding beaches.
YMCA Aquatic Park.
The YMCA Aquatic Park better known as Camp H20, is a summer camp geared towards seven to twelve-year olds offering affordable day camp activities including swimming, kayaking, paddleboats, rowboats and fishing. [C.A. § 30220: Protection of water-oriented recreational activities. 30224: Recreational boating use of coastal waters.] The camp plays an important role in educating our youth about the precious marine environment and the need to preserve the Lagoon for future generations.
Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute.
Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute includes a 20,000 square foot fish hatchery on the Lagoon. To date, Hubbs-SeaWorld has released over 1.5 million endangered white sea bass into the wild. Hubbs-SeaWorld will be able to expand its marine restoration activities as a result of additional acreage dedicated by the owners of the power plant, NRG Energy. [C.A. § 30222.5: Coastal dependent aquaculture.] Carlsbad's desalination plant requires a healthy environment and a clean watershed to produce high-quality drinking water. Once built, the desalination plant will ensure the continued stewardship of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon and the surrounding watershed, and will guarantee for many years to come that the citizens of Carlsbad will be able to enjoy the benefits of this clean Lagoon and its surrounding beaches.
Public Access to the Lagoon and Coast.
The desalination plant will enhance public access and recreation, and maintain, restore and enhance marine life through the provision of four parcels of Lagoon and oceanfront land – over 15 acres – currently in private ownership. NRG Energy will dedicate three parcels of land for use as hiking trails, beach access and beach parking. [C.A. § 30210: Enhancing opportunities for public access. C.A. § 30223: Dedication of upland area to support coastal recreational uses.] The fourth parcel will be dedicated for the expansion of the Hubbs-SeaWorld fish hatchery. [C.A. § 30222.5: Protection of ocean front land suitable for coastal aquaculture].
New Recreation Areas.
Providing enhanced public access to the coast and new recreational opportunities is just one of the public benefits of the Carlsbad desalination plant. Public access will be enhanced through the dedication of land for recreational activities including fishing. [C.A. § 30220: Protection of water-oriented recreational activities.]
The Carlsbad desalination plant will provide the citizens of Carlsbad with a high quality, locally-controlled, drought-proof supply of drinking water. Nearly 10% of the region's potable water needs will be served by the desalination plant, which is scheduled to be completed as early as 2015. The operators of the desalination plant will assume the role as the Agua Hedionda Lagoon's steward, which includes a financial commitment to restore 37 acres of wetland habitat. [C.A. § 30255: Priority Coastal Dependent Development.]
Beach Sand Replenishment.
Historically, tidal patterns affecting Carlsbad State Beach removed most of the beach's sand, leaving only rough cobblestones. The periodic dredging of the Lagoon by the power plant provided the beach with a permanent sand supply. The operators of the desalination plant will take over responsibility for dredging the Lagoon, providing much-needed sand replenishment. [C.A. § 30210: Enhancing opportunities for public access.]
Warm Water Jetties Surf Break.
The power plant's discharge channel acts as a manmade river mouth that delivers sand to the end of the jetties, creating a natural sand bar. The result is one of the most popular surfing spots in North County San Diego. The jetties would be removed when the power plant is decommissioned, resulting in a loss of this surf break. The existence of desalination plant will ensure that the jetties remain and this popular surf spot exists for many years to come. [C.A. § 30220: Protection of water-oriented recreational activities.]
Enhancing Fish Habitat.
Agua Hedionda Lagoon encompasses over 400 acres of marine, estuarine, and wetlands habitat that is home to hundreds of fish, invertebrate and bird species, including the vibrant California state fish, the Garibaldi. The Garibaldi live in the rocks adjacent to the power plant intake structure. At this location, Garibaldi are found in greater numbers than comparable habitat in the pristine environments of Coronado, San Clemente and Santa Catalina islands. [C.A. § 30230: Preservation of marine resources.]
The Lagoon is home to the thriving Carlsbad Aquafarm where 1 million pounds of mussels and oysters are harvested and sold to seafood vendors and restaurants each year. The Aquafarm has 20 employees and is a growing contributor to the $1 billion US aquafarming industry, which helps reduce the toll that over-fishing takes on the ocean by providing high quality farmed seafood. [C.A. § 30222.5: Protection of ocean front land suitable for coastal aquaculture.]
Boating remains one of the most popular lagoon activities for residents and visitors. California Water Sports offers expert lessons and rents a variety of boats, including kayaks, canoes and peddle boats, to the general public. [C.A. § 30220: Protection of water-oriented recreational activities. 30224: Recreational boating use of coastal waters.]
Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation Discovery Center.
Opened in 2006, the Discovery Center offers visitors an opportunity to learn about the lagoon's native plants and marine life through exhibits and educational programs.