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Learn about the Los Peñasquitos Lagoon

Join us for our first chapter meeting of the year on Wednesday, January 16th from 7-8:30pm at the SDG&E Energy Innovation Center, located at 4760 Clairemont Mesa Blvd San Diego, CA 92117.

Our guest speaker will be Mike Hastings, Executive Director of the Los Peñasquitos Lagoon Foundation, who will be speaking about the history and current conditions of the Los Peñasquitos Lagoon.

Located within the Torrey Pines State Reserve in north county San Diego, the Los Peñasquitos Lagoon (LPL) is one of the few remaining native salt marsh lagoons in southern California. A 510-­‐acre State Natural Marsh Preserve, LPL receives drainage from a 60,000-­‐acre watershed with three main tributaries. LPL and its uplands support a variety of native flora and fauna species, seven of which are listed as threatened or endangered. Listed as a Critical Coastal Area, LPL provides refuge for migratory birds using the Pacific Flyway and is the closest lagoon to the only two Areas of Special Biological Significance (ASBS) located offshore of San Diego. An effort is currently underway to update the lagoon’s enhancement plan, certified in 1985. Setting a baseline for lagoon health is confounded by the fact that the lagoon and its watershed have been impacted by human activities dating back to the early 1800s. Development within the lagoon between the 1880s and 1930s modified the lagoon’s natural hydrologic processes, impacting connectivity between the ocean and watershed and setting the stage for future impacts related to urbanization. Urban development since the 1960s has further impacted natural processes and habitats within the watershed and lagoon, resulting in the listing of LPL as an impaired water body in the CWA’s Section 303(d) for sediment and siltation, as well as bacteria. However, success of future restoration efforts in LPL must move beyond managing sediment and bacteria input. It requires a comprehensive, watershed-­‐based approach that moves beyond managing symptomology to provide systematic fixes for long-­term success. Furthermore, this approach must realize that restoring LPL to a pristine state, as existed prior to the 1800s, is most likely unattainable given the context of urban encroachment along lagoon boundaries and within the floodplain and watershed.

Mike Hastings is the Executive Director for the Los Peñasquitos Lagoon Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization created to facilitate management of a State Preserve through the integration of sound science and adaptive management with stakeholder coordination for effective stewardship of coastal resources. During his tenure, Mike has raised over $9 million to fund programs and individual projects to protect and restore coastal resources and endangered species. He has successfully negotiated and managed both small and million-dollar contracts involving multi-disciplinary project teams and diverse  interest groups. Mike recently published Managing the Inlet at Los Peñasquitos Lagoon (Winter 2012 publication of Shore & Beach Journal) and presented at  Headwaters to Ocean Conference 2010/2011 and 2011/2012. He has a Masters in Marine Science and Marine Resource Administration and a Bachelors in Cultural Anthropology with minors in Psychology and Law & Society. Mike enjoys spending time with his family that includes Camille, his beautiful wife of 6 years, and his two Wee Men - Benjamin (4 years old) and Nathan (1 year old). His hobbies include surfing, snowboarding, mountain biking and hiking. Mike also enjoys cultural immersion and traveling, especially if there is are good waves, a beautiful beach or snow-capped mountain at the end of the road. Mike has been surfing for 38 years primarily between San Francisco and Cabo. He lived at San Miguel (Baja CA) for 4.5 years and has been on many surf trips to Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Australia, Fiji, Tahiti and Brazil.  Mike favorite local spots include Blacks (winter), Del Mar Jetty (summer) and Laguna or La Jolla anytime there's womp.