818-597-8627 info@rcdsmm.org


California State Parks, CalTrans and Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors are working with your RCD to restore the Topanga Lagoon ecosystem, one of the last coastal wetlands in Southern California


Public review for the Topanga Lagoon Restoration Project Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) officially began on February 12th, 2024 and the public provided comments and feedback on the report through April 12th, 2024 at 5pm.

Click the link below to access the DEIR, view recent meeting recordings, and see what’s coming next for the project.

Project support generously provided by:


The Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains, along with California State Parks, Caltrans, and County of Los Angeles Department of Beaches and Harbors, are working on a joint project to restore Topanga Lagoon, provide improved visitor services, coastal access, and emergency response, while proactively addressing sea level rise. The Topanga Lagoon Restoration Project has been many years in the making and has been generously supported by the Wildlife Conservation Board, State Coastal Conservancy, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and through the efforts of former Assemblymember Richard Bloom, among others.

A Brief History of the Lagoon

Topanga Lagoon is located at the mouth of Topanga Creek, within Topanga State Park and Topanga Beach at the eastern edge of the Santa Monica Mountains. Once 30-acres in size, Topanga Lagoon is currently less than 1-acre. The lagoon area has been filled and developed over the years with buildings and hardscape infrastructure. The beach adjacent to the lagoon hosts about one million visitors per year and is regionally important for coastal access and recreation. Despite this history of damage and development, Topanga Lagoon continues to host critical natural resources, including federally endangered tidewater goby and Southern California steelhead trout. The lagoon area also includes remnants of the historic Topanga Ranch Motel.

Photo of Historic Development. Looking west over the Topanga Lagoon in the 1900’s prior to extensive development. Photo from the Santa Monica Public Library

Cooper Auto Camp established 1924

Photo of Historic Development. Looking west over the Topanga Lagoon in the 1900’s prior to extensive development. Photo from the Santa Monica Public Library

Looking west over the Topanga Lagoon in the 1900’s prior to extensive development – photo from the Santa Monica Public Library

1876 T Sheet (topography map) of Topanga Lagoon – from the UC Santa Barbara Library

Topanga Lagoon in 1927 – photo from Fairchild Collection

Project Goals

The Topanga Lagoon Restoration Project seeks to protect and improve the biological, cultural and recreational values onsite. The project does this by expanding Topanga Lagoon from 1-acre to 7-10 acres, restoring and enhancing coastal habitats and reconstructing the PCH bridge to accommodate a wider lagoon. The project will improve visitor services and coastal access by developing a “Gateway Corner” visitor hub with interpretive features and new parking at NW corner of the intersection of the Pacific Coast Highway and Topanga Canyon Boulevard. Public lands within the project area will also be better connected through an integrated trail system, emergency response, improved parking, and new visitor amenities.

Alternative 2 - Maximize Lagoon

Topanga Lagoon Restoration Alternative Design 2 – Maximize Lagoon

Alternative 3 - Maximize Historic

Topanga Lagoon Restoration Alternative Designs 3 – Maximize Historic

Alternative 4 - Maximize Resilience to SLR

Topanga Lagoon Restoration Alternative Designs 4 – Maximize Resilience to Sea Level Rise


The RCD actively invites the public to be involved in the planning and restoration of this important area. Read more about the restoration, get current updates, and discover how you can become involved at the project’s full website at TopangaLagoonRestoration.org


In an effort to invite as many diverse voices into the restoration process as possible, we have created a music video featuring Topanga Lagoon!

Watch the video below and join a young boy’s journey as he experiences the beauty and wonder of Topanga Lagoon through the eyes of an endangered southern steelhead. Please share the video and help us spread the word about this exciting restoration!