Long Beach firm recognized for its work on San Elijo Lagoon restoration project


A trail bridge at San Elijo Lagoon in Encinitas is shown in 2021, not long after its completion. A lagoon restoration project is entering its final phase in spring 2022. (Photo by Marcel Fuentes, iStock Getty Images)

North Coast Current

A company involved in the San Elijo Lagoon Restoration Project, a collaborative effort to revitalize a key natural resource in Encinitas, is set to receive engineering excellence recognition for its work, it was announced Wednesday, Feb. 1.

Long Beach-based Moffatt & Nichol, which handled preliminary engineering, environmental review and permitting, and completed final engineering for the San Elijo Lagoon program, makes the project one of 12 to be recognized by the American Council of Engineering Companies, California and its ACEC California Scholarship Foundation, in partnership with public agencies and private firms.

“These ACEC California engineering firms are being honored for bringing an outstanding degree of innovation, accomplishment, and value,” ACEC California Executive Director Brad Diede said in a news release. “Californians deserve reliably built infrastructure that includes structurally sound buildings, dependable drinking water supplies, and safe and efficient transportation systems as well as safe bicycle and pedestrian routes. Our firms are committed to continually building a better California, as exemplified in these award-winning projects.”

The 2023 Golden State Award Winner will be announced Feb. 16 at ACEC California’s Engineering Awards Banquet in Orange County.

“We provided lagoon modeling to address hydrodynamics, sedimentation, and water quality,” Moffatt & Nichol states on its San Elijo Lagoon Restoration Project page. “Moffatt & Nichol also provided shoreline modeling and analyzed surfing for impacts of sand placement. The objective was to enlarge, deepen and length lagoon channels to improve tidal circulation and flushing for improved water and habitat quality.”

The San Elijo project took about five years and $120 million to restore the lagoon’s habitat and provide updated trails and other amenities, part of the massive Build NCC effort to widen Interstate 5 and update mass transit and pedestrian options along coastal north San Diego County. The half-cent TransNet tax funded the project.

In addition to the Encinitas project, one other project in the San Diego region is up for ACEC California recognition, according to the organization’s announcement.

Kleinfelder and McMillen Jacobs Associates, now known as Delve Underground, provided engineering and construction services for the Courthouse Commons Tunnel Project in downtown San Diego, a 328-foot-long, three-story underground facility to transport inmates from the Central Jail to the new high-rise San Diego County Superior Court.