Agua Hedionda Lagoon


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The 400-acre Agua Hedionda Lagoon is one of the threatened coastal wetlands on the Southern California coastline. Draining 135,000 acres in the heart of the burgeoning metropolitan area of San Diego’s north county, the Lagoon watershed is a sensitive and vital ecosystem. It is home to juvenile fish, crabs, hundreds of species of marine life and waterfowl, including an array of threatened and endangered species. It is also provides a much needed respite for migrating birds. The Lagoon is unique in that it has many current uses such as a YMCA day camp, recreational boating, a mussel and abalone aquaculture facility, a white-sea bass breeding and research center and a power generating facility. The Lagoon’s various usages, and the many activities and ecosystems it supports, makes it a distinctive and precious natural resource unlike any other.

Three Lagoons in One

The Lagoon extends 1.7 miles inland and is up to .5 miles wide. Three major roadbeds cross the Lagoon: Highway 101 along the coastline, the railroad and Interstate 5. These thoroughfares divide the Lagoon into 3 sections moving from the coast inland – the outer, middle and inner Lagoon. All three sections are 8-10 feet deep at their deepest part of the high tide. Enjoy the day at California Watersports located on the north end of the lagoon.

Marine Life

Twice daily, the tide rises to flood the Lagoon and then ebbs, leaving much of the mudflats exposed. This constant tidal action creates a nutrient-rich environment which supports a wide variety of organisms – clams, crabs and worms live in the mud and are a food source for birds and fish.

70 species of fish live in this Lagoon. You can find flounder, white seabass, and stingrays. Look for mullet jumping several feet into the air and moving into shallow water to spawn.

Regular Hours of Operation at the Discovery Center

Monday through Saturday 9 am – 4 pm
Sunday 12 pm – 4 pm

Contact Aqua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation

(760) 804-1969

Map & Directions

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