Notice of Determination
Tijuana Estuary Tidal Restoration Program II Phase I has been designed to restore coastal wetlands and associated native uplands in the area surrounding the previously restored Model Marsh. Two action alternatives that would restore between 82 to 87 acres of coastal wetlands and a no project/no action alternative are described and analyzed in the DEIR/EIS. Coastal restoration is proposed to reverse ongoing degradation of coastal resources essential to the long-term survival of migratory birds, fish, and other aquatic resources, while also increasing the Tijuana Estuary’s tidal prism (the volume of water coming and going with the tides) to improve water quality.
Restoration would involve the excavation of between 521,000 and 585,000 cubic yards (cy) of sediment, depending upon which alternative is implemented. Between 5,000 and 7,000 cy would be reused to establish higher elevation transitional areas within the restoration footprint, while the remaining sediment could be beneficially reused for beach nourishment on-site or transported off-site for beneficial reuse at other project sites (e.g., Nelson Sloan Quarry) or for disposal (e.g., Otay Landfill). The primary differences between the two action alternatives are the amount of intertidal mudflat restored versus salt marsh habitat; the total acreage of restored versus preserved habitats; and the number of connections provided to existing tidal channels.
Common features of the action alternatives include restoration of predominantly disturbed portions of the southern arm of Tijuana Estuary to tidal wetlands, tidal channel enhancements and new intertidal channel connections to restored habitat areas and the existing Model Marsh, incorporation of transitional habitat areas into the restoration design, and river mouth excavation, as needed, to maintain continued tidal exchange within the estuary.