Los Penasquitos Lagoon in Del Mar blocked once again: Mosquito infested lagoon again stagnant

Mosquitoes breed, thrive in stagnant water

SAN DIEGO - For the second time in two months, the city of San Diego and state of California will have to pay to fix a mounting mosquito problem in the Los Penasquitos Lagoon.

Less than a month after San Diego and state officials moved 20,000 cubic yards of sand blocking the lagoon from draining into the Pacific Ocean, the sand is again blocking the channel.

It allows stagnant water and mosquitoes that could carry the West Nile virus to thrive in the Del Mar lagoon.

"As you can see it looks like we weren't even there," state parks Superintendent Robin Greene said.

The 20,000 cubic yards of sand taken out of the lagoon is enough to cover the field at Qualcomm Stadium 11 feet deep in sand. According to Greene, the operation cost taxpayers $33,000.

Greene said the lagoon will have to be cleared again, and state estimates claim it would take between $140,000 and $150,000 to keep the lagoon flowing year round.

The source of the problem is the winter's high tide, which causes sand to build up. The sand cuts the lagoon off from the ocean and allows freshwater pockets to stagnate.  Stagnant fresh water is the ideal place for mosquitoes to breed.

San Diego County Vector Control is continuing to spray the lagoon and officials confirmed the mosquitoes breeding there can carry the Western Encephalitis virus -- which kills about three percent of those it infects.

"The emergency breech that we spent that money on wasn't wasted," Greene said. "We had to drain that lagoon."

On Wednesday, the city and state will again drudge sand to open the lagoon to the ocean.

The San Diego County Health Department has been testing the lagoon for Western Encephalitis and so far has not found any evidence of it.  

"Since we first heard from our constituents, we engaged our county's vector control to eliminate the mosquitoes utilizing an aggressive program," County Supervisor Dave Roberts said in a statement to 10News. "With the leadership of council member Sherri Lightner, the city of San Diego has stepped up and opened the mouth of the lagoon. We will continue to work cooperatively with all jurisdictions to resolve this problem."

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