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Coastal habitat preserved near Batiquitos Lagoon

Standing atop a bluff overlooking the Batiquitos Lagoon, regional leaders and conservation advocates announced on April 7, 2015, the acquisition of 50.5 acres of prime coastal habitat located southeast of the lagoon in the cities of Encinitas and Carlsbad. The property was previously proposed for a 19-unit housing development.

In partnership with Caltrans, SANDAG completed the $6 million open space acquisition on March 30 under its TransNet Environmental Mitigation Program (EMP). TransNet is the region’s voter-approved half-cent sales tax for transportation administered by SANDAG. The TransNet EMP funds habitat conservation to mitigate the effects of regional transportation improvements.

“The preservation of the Batiquitos Bluffs property is just the beginning of our efforts to enhance the environment and quality of life in the I-5 corridor,” SANDAG Chair and Santee Councilmember Jack Dale said. “Over the life of the North Coast Corridor Program, we expect to spend $250 million to preserve and restore sensitive coastal habitat and improve coastal access at the same time as we build transportation improvements to reduce congestion and greenhouse gas emissions.”

The conserved land, known as Batiquitos Bluffs, was purchased specifically to fulfill the environmental commitments made under the I-5 North Coast Corridor Program (NCC), approved last August by the California Coastal Commission. The NCC Program comprises three primary focus areas – the Interstate 5 (I-5) Express Lanes Project, coastal rail and transit enhancements, and environmental protection and coastal access improvements. Overall, this holistic and integrated program represents a more than $6 billion investment over the next few decades in the 27-mile corridor from La Jolla to Oceanside. 

Dale was joined at the event by Encinitas Deputy Mayor Catherine Blakespear, Carlsbad Councilwoman Lorraine Wood, Caltrans I-5/SR 76 Corridor Director Allan Kosup, Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation President Fred Sandquist, and Buena Vista Audubon Society Conservation Chair Joan Herskowitz.

The Batiquitos Bluffs property is made up of two parcels that straddle La Costa Avenue, off El Camino Real. The largest parcel – previously proposed for a 19-unit housing development – is 47 acres and lies in the City of Encinitas. The smaller parcel, 3.5 acres, is connected to the lagoon in the City of Carlsbad. The property will eventually be transferred to a conservation and land management organization to ensure effective stewardship of the land, which acts as an important buffer to protect the lagoon’s water quality.

Project Manager(s)

For media inquiries, please contact the SANDAG Public Information Office at (619) 699-1950 or