Lindo Lake in Lakeside, is the only natural lake in the County of San Diego and was originally fed by Quail Creek. In the 1960’s a dam was constructed on Quail Creek upstream of Lindo Lake which severed natural water flow into the lake. Stormwater and urban runoff from the hillsides surrounding Lindo Lake became its primary source of water and water quality has deteriorated over the years.
Lake restoration will be completed in two phases: Phase 1 will restore the east basin and Phase 2 will restore the west basin. Phase 1 construction is currently underway and is anticipated to be completed summer 2022. Phase 1 is funded for a total project cost of $11,775,000.
Restoration of the east basin included deepening the basin, installing fish habitat structures to support the aquatic ecosystem, and installing an aeration system to maintain healthy oxygen levels in the water of the restored basin is nearly completed. Improvements to the surrounding landscape, habitat and recreation amenities are underway now. Habitat restoration includes planting approximately 12-acres of native plants and trees around the east basin. Construction of recreation amenities will be following shortly and includes installing ADA accessible paths, accessible curb ramps for access from adjacent streets, installation of three viewing platforms along the east basin perimeter where park visitors can sit and enjoy the lake, installation of two bird watching stations where park visitors can view birds at the site closer than before and without disturbing them, and installation of a fishing pier. Project completion is anticipated this summer at which point the east basin area of the park will be reopened to park visitors.
The Lindo Lake Improvements project continues to make great progress on restoring the east basin of the lake. In order to maintain progress and make up for time lost during rain events the contractor will be performing work on the project site this Saturday, 12/18/21, from 9am to 4pm. Thank you for the continued support on this important project.
The construction team will be working on the Lindo Lake Improvements project this Saturday, December 11, in order to make important progress prior to forecasted rains expected next week. Because these are not typical construction hours, our contractor will only be operating equipment from 9am to 4pm. We thank the community for their continued patience as we continue this important lake restoration project
We’re making great progress on the Lindo Lake Improvements – Phase 1 project to restore the east basin of Lindo Lake. In order to continue our momentum, our contractor will be working at the site this Saturday, November 20th. Because these are not typical construction hours our contractor will only be operating equipment from 9am to 4pm. We thank the community for their continued patience as we continue this important lake restoration project.
We have good news to share! Our team of Ornithologists and Biologists who continue to monitor the restoration project to ensure the welfare of the wildlife on site have confirmed that young stilts have grown and left their nesting site along with their parents. As these young birds have left the site we will discontinue adding water to the surface of the east basin. With dewatering of the east basin progressing, we hope to begin some initial grading of the restoration site within the next several weeks. As we do, our team of monitors will continue to observe the site regularly to ensure wildlife are safe and to help us move the restoration of the east basin of Lindo Lake forward.
While biological monitors do not believe the birds are at risk, increased temperatures could deplete some of the water around a stilt nest, before the birds fledge in the next 3 weeks. For this reason, on 6/10/21, a contractor will pump water from the dewatering filtration system to the surface of the east basin near the stilt nest. Water will be dispelled slowly to avoid stressing the birds. This will maintain visible standing water in the vicinity of the nest (roughly 20' from the diameter).
We continue to prioritize the safety and protection of wildlife at Lindo Lake. The goal of this overarching project is to restore health to Lindo Lake which will support all wildlife. Our team of Ornithologists (biologists who specialize in the study of birds) and Biologists are closely collaborating on surveying the east basin and monitoring the health of the birds that are nesting on site, and we have precautions in place to protect those nests. Some of these nests have been determined inactive, as the young birds have already successfully left the nests and adult birds are no longer present. Other nests remain active and will continue to be protected and observed, including the black-necked stilt nest which is located on a dirt mound within the east basin.
It’s important to note that the dewatering effort to remove groundwater from the east basin for the restoration project is not affecting the surface water level. The water currently being pumped out of the basin is groundwater located 23 feet below the surface. The change in surface water levels that we are seeing is part of the natural, seasonal cycle that happens every year. Each year, during the rainy season, the east basin fills with water and birds often come to nest in and around the basin. And each year, as the weather warms, the east basin dries up and the birds move to the west basin and to other locations. The restoration activities at the site are not disrupting or changing this natural pattern.
Our Ornithological and Biological monitor team is aware of the foraging requirements for the birds nesting in and around the basin and are specifically tracking the surface water level and soil moisture surrounding the black-necked stilt nest, while the fledglings develop. Much of the basin appears shallow, but there are depressions near the nest which will keep a broad area around it wet enough to support foraging for weeks to come. The black-necked stilts do not only require standing water for their foraging habitat – they can also forage in moist soil where they can pick out insects, snails and other food with their beaks. Our monitor team anticipates the young, black-necked stilts will fledge and leave their nest before the basin becomes too dry for this foraging behavior.
We have a strong history of success with this very same team of Ornithologists and Biologists as demonstrated in the recently completed improvements project at the Tijuana River Valley Campground. At that project site we had multiple active nests with sensitive bird species and the project was completed with a 100% success rate of the birds fledging and having no harm come to them. We anticipate the same success rate with the Lindo Lake Improvements project, and we will continue to observe and monitor the active nests to ensure the nesting birds and other wildlife are protected during the restoration efforts.
A great deal has been happening out there to ensure the safety of the nesting birds. Our biology consultant, ICF, has completed several nesting studies (see below). Surveys like these are an essential step in protecting local wildlife, whenever we embark on large development projects like the revitalization of Lindo Lake. We conduct nesting surveys any time when we are starting new construction activities or changing construction activities to a different location.
Because nesting was observed in the most recent survey, the County enacted precautionary measures to rotet the birds until they safely fledge the nests. changed course to ensure the birds are protected and are working very closely with our consultant on the following precautionary measures: We will complete another nesting survey 72 hours before dewatering is scheduled to begin; we will regularly monitor nests to check for disturbances – installing noise buffers, if needed; we can temporarily halt work if it’s too distressing on nesting bird species; and we plan to maintain a constant presence on site, to prevent new nests from being built. We will move forward with dewatering activities if/when we can do it without significantly interrupting nesting behavior, and in compliance with all environmental requirements. If there are still active nests on the site when the dewatering begins, we will have monitors out there during construction to ensure that the birds do not show signs of distress. If they show signs of distress, we will immediately stop our work in that area and check to make sure the adults return to their normal behavior.
Improvements are well underway at the east basin of Lindo Lake. Fencing is up, stormwater protection and erosion control measures are in place, trees are being protected and weeds are being removed. A significant water line that serves the whole park was successfully replaced and upgraded.
What’s going on right now? We are beginning the process of “dewatering” the east basin to remove existing surface water, seepage and groundwater. The dewatering system pushes the liquids through a filtration system – cleaning it before it becomes wastewater. Once removed, we can dig in to deepen the basin. Online in about a month, dewatering will take place through most of the summer… That’s when we’ll begin excavating roughly 130,000 cubic yards of sediment!
Other upcoming improvements include: New culverts between the east and west basins and aeration systems to help circulate water; new wells to maintain water levels; and upgraded electrical.
Stay tuned for updates. We’re still on track to complete this first phase of lake revitalization – focusing on the east basin – by Spring 2022.
For more information about the construction project, please contact Sr. Park Project Manager Emily Hubbard by email at Emily.Hubbard@sdcounty.ca.gov.