Research Program

The Tijuana Estuary has been a important research site for over three decades, and the work accomplished here has contributed greatly to the understanding, protection, and restoration of local wetlands. As part of the National Estuarine Research Reserve System, scientific activities conducted at the Tijuana Estuary also increase our knowledge of the coastal environment at the national level. In addition, the Reserve is associated with the Field Stations Program of San Diego State University, which supports the collecting, sharing, and understanding of environmental data in southern California.

The ecosystems and research facilities at the Tijuana Estuary are used by faculty and students from many colleges and universities. In order to better understand how estuaries function, there is regular research and monitoring of vegetation, fish, marine invertebrates, birds, reptiles, and exotic species. In addition, water conditions such as salinity and temperature are sampled every thirty minutes at multiple sites throughout the estuary. The Reserve’s Educational Water Quality Monitoring Laboratory uses volunteers to study bacterial contamination of estuarine waters, demonstrating one way in which the education and research missions of the Reserve can be linked.

A primary goal of research conducted at the Tijuana Estuary is to provide
sound science for effective management of coastal resources, including wetland restoration. The Reserve has embarked on an ambitious restoration program, aimed at recovering hundreds of acres of lost wetlands. Continued research at the Tijuana Estuary will help guide this effort to recover some of California’s most threatened habitats.