Carlsbad is blessed with three lagoons - the Agua Hedionda Lagoon, the middle one, is the busiest. Located between Tamarack and Cannon, this lagoon offers surprises many don't know about. I certainly didn't. And I pass by the lagoon often during the week, either along the coast road (Route 101) or on the freeway.
READ MORE: A Walk Along the Batiquitos Lagoon
The most obvious feature of the lagoon, which has 3 bodies of water, is the Encina Power Plant (owned by NRG), which can be seen for miles. And this is also the site of the planned desalination plant that has been so controversial for a number of years and is due to be operational in 2010 (delivering 50 million gallons of water per day).
But there are some interesting tidbits about the Agua Hedionda Lagoon:
- It is the only one of the three to allow swimming and boating (I believe only in the area to the east of the railroad tracks)
- The name means "stinking water"
- The power plant was built in the early 1950s when Carlsbad was incorporated (1952) and much dredging has occurred to enable the lagoon to provide enough water flow for the power plant and also to maintain the marine life
- A second power plant has been proposed (to replace the current one) but controversy remains about the location. While the proposal is for the adjacent site, the new plant does not need water so detractors proposed it be moved far inland. No decision expected until later 2009 or 2010.
- The Carlsbad Aquafarm is located in the lagoon (their website is under construction) producing 300,000 pounds of mussels and 1 million oysters to local distributors and area restaurants (I understand that the owner can be found at the Santa Monica Famer's Market and Hollywood Farmer's Market each week with his oysters and other seafood - Read Eat, Drink and Be Merry). They also produce clams and abalone
- The floats holding up the farm (easily seen from the coast road) provide resting and roosting places for many local California Brown Pelican
- On the north side of the lagoon is a fish hatchery for white sea bass (350,000 per year I understand are released in to the ocean) operated by the Hubb-Seaworld Research Institute
The middle body of water was acquired by the Magdalena Ecke YMCA and turned into an aquatic part. Fishing is allowed and the park is using for kayaking, camping and swimming.
The inner part of the lagoon is home to California Watersports, just down the hill from the new condos at The Bluffs and within view of Ocean Pointe. Folks can enjoy kayaking, wakeboarding, jet skiing and waterskiing.
A small cove at the far east of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon, Bristol Cove, is a popular residential area - folks can own waterfront condos with their own boat docks at pretty affordable prices considering the cost of most waterfront properties.