Tel: 760.637.1902

The Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation was established as a non-profit corporation in 1990 to help conserve, restore and enhance the environmental features of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon, marsh, wetlands and watershed area, to protect sensitive land through acquisition or other means and to promote balanced recreational and commercial uses consistent with assured future lagoon vitality. The Foundation serves as an advocate for the lagoon and is a strong supporter of public access, trails and recreational opportunities.

It co-promotes twice annual clean-up days. Members receive a quarterly newsletter, the Watermark and can enjoy Foundation sponsored tours of the Carlsbad Aquafarm mussel growing facility and the Hubbs-Seaworld sea bass nursery. The Foundation welcomes volunteer participation on its committees including the Trails, Nature Center, Recreation, Dredging, Fundraising and Communication committees, and, of course, on clean-up days!

Below is the web address for the foundation:


About a 1/2 mile to the west of Calavera Hills is the Agua Hedionda Lagoon.  There is a trail system for hiking, a Lagoon Discovery Center on Cannon Road and extensive water sports enjoyed on the west lagoon area. 

 The Agua Hedionda Lagoon is unique among San Diego County lagoons, in that recreational and commercial uses are permitted; yet the lagoon is a healthy, tidal body, with a large wetlands supporting several endangered species.

Calavera Hills

Copyright © Gregory Jackson

The majority of the lagoon is owned and maintained by Cabrillo Power II, owners of a 900-megawatt power plant located on the outer segment of the lagoon. The entire 400-acre lagoon, created in 1954, was completely re-dredged in 1998/1999 to an average depth of 8 to 11 feet, significantly increasing tidal flushing. An extensive eelgrass planting program was initiated after the dredging, resulting in additional marine nursery areas.

The City of Carlsbad regulates boating on prescribed portions of the inner lagoon, and the YMCA operates a canoeing center. Two aqua-culture facilities enjoy the tidal health of the lagoon—a white sea bass research facility jointly managed by Hubbs/Seaworld and California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) and a commercial mussel  growing facility. In 2000, CDFG acquired 186 acres of wetland located at the eastern end of the lagoon for an Ecological Reserve. The Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation manages a 3800 sq. ft. Discovery Center, with educational displays, scheduled lectures and foot access to the wetlands and lagoon.   

The watershed is drained by the Agua Hedionda and Macario Creeks and is a component of the Carlsbad Hydrologic Unit. The creeks are normally a trickle in the summer, but become sources of storm water runoff from continuing residential and commercial development. The lagoon and wetland form a major element of Carlsbad’s Habitat Management Program and are connected by corridors to other elements of the program. The wetlands and surrounding slopes of coastal sage scrub provide habitat for sensitive species including the California gnatcatcher, least Bell’s vireo, light-footed Clapper rail, and others.