Los Peñasquitos Lagoon Real-Time Remote Monitoring

A Los Peñasquitos Lagoon Foundation and Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve (TRNERR) collaborative project.

Project Description

The Los Peñasquitos Lagoon is part of the Torrey Pines State Reserve, located in southern California, approximately 15 miles north of downtown San Diego, California. This watershed area is home to riparian wetlands, vernal pools, and salt marshes and is habitat to federal and state listed endangered species. The lagoon is impaired by non-point source (NPS) pollution, especially excessive sedimentation. Year-round accelerated freshwater flows are also a significant NPS problem at the lagoon, since these freshwater flows displace native salt marsh species that cannot compete with invasive wetland species in year-round freshwater conditions.

Real-Time Remote Water Quality Monitoring

The Los Peñasquitos Lagoon Foundation manages the lagoon under the Los Peñasquitos Lagoon Enhancement Plan approved by the California Coastal Conservancy in 1985 to provide a monitoring program with the principal objective to manage actions at the lagoon mouth to assure tidal flushing. Water level and water quality monitoring at the Los Peñasquitos Lagoon is part of the management of this lagoon where salt marsh species are threatened when periods of mouth closure prevent saltwater migration into the estuary, lowering salinity and dissolved oxygen. Monitored water quality parameters provide information on the water quality health of the lagoon and how it may impact the flora and biota of the area. With the implementation of remote real-time monitoring, scientists, researchers and other stakeholders are alerted to water quality impacts in real-time to make timely decisions on management of the lagoon.

Currently, there are four data monitoring stations. Water level and water quality data are collected at each station in real-time every 15 minutes. Water quality parameters include temperature, salinity, pH, specific conductance, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity. These data can be accessed on-line in real-time through this Environmental Dashboard, and reviewed and exported in various graphical and tabular formats. Photographic data at the lagoon mouth are also recorded every 15 minutes during daylight hours, with images linked to the on-line graphical data. In addition, predicted and real-time observed water level data measured at Scripps Pier, La Jolla, California, are available with the estuarial water level data set in the graphical interface.

Project Contacts

Environmental Dashboard™ and real-time monitoring development is in collaboration with HoundSystems, LLC. Please contact info@houndsystems.com for more information.