Water Pollution Prevention

Closeup of Polluted Lake San Marcos Water, Photographed December 4, 2010 by Michael St.Onge

Water pollution is entirely man-made and did not exist before humans lived near the lagoon. Therefore, in order to preserve the quality of this environment for the future, it is everyone’s responsibility to reduce pollution in their local community. Click Here to see a map of the watershed area that flows into the Batiquitos Lagoon.

A lot of the water that flows into the lagoon comes from water runoff from homes and businesses. The waterways that flow into the lagoon carry-in trash and pollutants along with the water. If everyone tried to follow these simple steps, there would be a lot fewer contaminates to worry about.

How to Reduce Water Pollution:

  1. Reduce water runoff from your property– The excess water running from your lawn into the storm drains ends up somewhere. If you are located in the watershed area on the link above, those storm drains are likely to carry your water into the Batiquitos Lagoon.
  2. Plant native vegetation instead of non-native– Planting species that use little water will greatly reduce the amount of water runoff. Many native species to Southern California are capable of surviving off natural rainfall and require little to no watering. These species are also capable of surviving without chemicals. There are many species that can be aesthetic as well.
  3. Maintain your vehicle– In Southern California it is well known that the first rainfall of the season washes all the oils off from the roads. Within the first few minutes you can actually see the oil come off. Although our current cars cannot run without motor oil, transmission fluid, antifreeze, and petroleum products, maintaining you vehicle so that it is not leaking will help reduce the amount of these resudues are washing into the storm drains.
  4. Pick up and properly dispose of trash– It is surprising how much trash can be found on the side of our local roadways. If you are visiting the lagoon, just take a walk on the trail toward the I5 freeway and see how much garbage is blown off the road and into the lagoon. A lot of this trash is also found in our local waterways that flow into the lagoons. Just take a look almost anywhere along the San Marcos Creek and you will see oily residue on surface water, and trash stuck in the plants and rocks. This is the remains of thousands of people who neglect to properly dispose of their waste.
  5. Recycle– The watershed map shows the locations of old landfills that are polluting our waterways. Most of that trash was only from the last 100 years or less. How often do you stop to think about where your trash goes when you throw it away?

How to Reduce Silt Accumulation:

One of the greatest threats to a lagoon is silt, a combination of sand and clay and other sediments that wash down the waterways. Over time the lagoon continually collects silt until it either completely fills up or it gets flushed out with large storms. Although this is a natural process, humans have greatly accelerated the accumulation of silt. One of the major sources of silt includes business and housing construction, a common occurrence is this region. The water runoff from these construction projects within the watershed area washes a lot of mud into storm drains and eventually reaches the lagoon. Before the construction of the San Marcos Dam the lagoon would get flushed out during large storms. However, now the lagoon does not flush out and the only way to prevent the lagoon from silting up is through man-made prevention. This can be done through dredging the lagoon or through desiltation basins. Desiltation basins are concrete traps that collect sand, clay, and other forms of pollution before the water enters the lagoon. These are located in various places around the Batiquitos Lagoon. One is next to the Batiquitos Foundation Nature Center. Although they do not prevent all silting, these desiltation basins are very important because they are the only thing stopping the lagoon from silting up. They must be periodically cleaned out in order to be effective.

Batiquitos Lagoon Desiltation Basin, Photographed December 4, 2010 by Michael St.Onge

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