Condition A of the SONGS coastal development permit requires the creation or substantial restoration of at least 150 acres of tidal wetlands in Southern California as out of kind mitigation to compensate for the losses of marine fish standing stocks estimated to occur in the Southern California Bight as a result of the operation of SONGS Units 2 and 3. In June 1992, following an evaluation of eight sites throughout southern California, the CCC approved SCE’s selected restoration site, the San Dieguito Lagoon (SDL) in Del Mar.


Plan view of the “Mixed Habitat Alternative” selected as the design for the San Dieguito Restoration Project during the EIR/EIS process. Labels identify the various project related modules.

A public working group consisting of resource agency representatives, non-governmental organizations, and interested members of the public worked together to develop a reasonable range of alternatives for the restoration of SDL. As required by the SONGS Permit, SCE submitted a Preliminary Restoration Plan for the restoration of SDL to the CCC in September 1997. Following CCC approval of the Preliminary Restoration Plan in November 1997, the wetland restoration project entered the environmental review process. The San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority (JPA) took the role of state lead agency under CEQA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) took the role of federal lead agency under NEPA. The JPA incorporated the SCE wetland restoration project into their overall Open Space Park Project for the San Dieguito River Valley area. A joint Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) was prepared for the entire San Dieguito Wetlands Restoration (Restoration Project) component of the Park Project, which included the: (1) creation or substantial restoration of 150 acres of tidal wetlands to fulfill SCE’s SONGS Permit requirement, (2) restoration of additional wetland acreage for parties as yet unidentified, (3) creation of California least tern nesting sites, (4) establishment of public trails, and (5) a visitor center.

A detailed description of the planned restoration project is provided Section 4 of the San Dieguito Wetlands Project Final Restoration Plan (FRP). A key element of the approved restoration plan is maintenance of the San Dieguito Lagoon tidal inlet in an open condition in perpetuity. The SONGS Coastal Development Permit, as amended, grants 35 acres of restoration credit for this commitment. Thus, SCE is required to create or restore at least 115 acres of tidal wetlands in addition to the 35 acres achieved by maintaining an open tidal inlet.