Welcome to another edition of Habitat Happenings, a newsletter provided by
San Diego Habitat Conservancy (SDHC).
Wow, have we been busy! Here are just a few of the highlights from the past few months:
+ Now managing or contracted to manage 28 preserves (that's nearly 1,400 acres!) after recently adding 3 more preserves to our portfolio.
+ Austin Parker joined us full-time as our Assistant Habitat Manager. Read more about Austin later in this newsletter.
+ We have completed the design of our new logo which you will see on our new t-shirts and mugs. Remember that with a minimum donation of $35 you can receive a SDHC t-shirt!
+ We are working on the design of our new website and are eager to share that with you in the coming months.
Energia Sierra Juarez Preserve
SDHC now owns 11.59 acres of the southeastern most corner of San Diego County! Energia Sierra Juarez (aka ESJ) Preserve is located in the Jacumba Mountain range within San Diego County, along the U.S.-Mexico border. Take a step south, you're in Mexico. Take a step east, you're in Imperial County. This high elevation desert site containsSonoran mixed woody scrub, rock outcroppings, and dry desert wash. The preserve is bordered by the Bureau of Land Management's Jacumba Mountain Wilderness Area to the east and the Energia Sierra Juarez Gen-Tie project to the west.
Wanis View Preserves at Foss Lake & Hubbert Lake
The Wanis View Preserves are located in Oceanside, CA between the southern border of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton and the San Luis Rey River, roughly 5 miles from the coast. There is a 76.3-acre onsite portion at Hubbert Lake and an 11.53-acre offsite portion at Foss Lake. These conserved lands support ten vegetation communities including Diegan coastal sage scrub, freshwater marsh, and southern willow scrub. With all of the vegetation communities exhibited, many species of wildlife can be found in these two preserve areas including the federally threatened coastal California gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica californica) and the federally endangered least Bell’s vireo (Vireo bellii pusillus). The preserves are also home to a dozen rare plant species such as the federally threatened San Diego thornmint (Acanthamintha ilicifolia), the federally threatened thread-leaved brodiaea (Brodiaea filifolia), San Diego sagewort (Artemisia palmeri), and Palmer’s grapplinghook (Harpagonella palmeri), among many others. These new preserves are home to many important species and will help protect the biodiversity of this beautiful area.
WELCOME AUSTIN PARKER
Austin helping to wrangle peregrine falcon chicks
Austin Parker joins SDHC in the new position of assistant habitat manager. His responsibilities will include performing general monitoring visits, biological surveys including sensitive plant and wildlife species surveys, invasive species removal, and general project management. Austin holds a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service permit for the California gnatcatcher and has worked with many other at-risk bird populations such as coastal cactus wren, least Bell’s vireo, burrowing owl, and peregrine falcon, among others. Austin has experience working with federal agencies such as the USGS and National Park Service as well as non-profit organizations and private consulting companies in various southern California habitats. Austin also continues to serve as a wild land fire resource advisor for the National Park Service and has worked on fires in California and Oregon. Austin holds a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and a minor in International Relations from the University of San Diego. In 2018, Austin will complete his Masters of Arts in Biology from Miami University Ohio through the San Diego Zoo Global’s Institute for Conservation Research.
RARE PLANT SURVEYS
This field season has included rare plant surveys for a number of special status plant species. Below are a few of the rare plants we specifically surveyed for at several of our preserves using the Management Strategic Plan (MSP) Inspect and Manage (IMG) rare plant monitoring protocol.
San Diego Thornmint (Acanthomintha ilicifolia)
The federally and state listed as endangered San Diego thornmint is located at two of our preserves. This tiny plant is endemic to San Diego County and northwestern Baja California, Mexico, meaning it is only found in these two regions of the world.
Thread-leaved Brodiaea (Brodiaea filifolia)
The federally listed as threatened and state listed as endangered thread-leaved brodiaea is located at two of our preserves. This perennial plant is found from central coastal San Diego County north to the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains in Los Angeles County.
Otay Tarplant (Deinandra conjugens)
The federally listed as threatened and state listed as endangered Otay tarplant is located at two of our preserves. This annual plant is in the sunflower family and is endemic to southern San Diego County and Baja California, Mexico.
(Athene cunicularia) Photo Credit: Julio Mulero
Burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia) are a migratory raptor species which inhabit San Diego County, although they can be found from the frozen plains of Canada south to the open pampas of Patagonia. They primarily feast on small mammals like mice and rats, but being the opportunistic raptors they are, will eat whatever they can get their talons on, such as lizards and insects.
Burrowing owl usually occupy open grassland habitat and nest underground, hence their name. However, this name is misleading since they do not dig their own burrows. Instead, they have co-evolved with a number of small mammal species. Here in San Diego County these owls rely on the burrows created by California ground squirrels (Otospermophilus beecheyi) for their homes. Recently, due to loss of habitat associated with development, many of these owls have been forced to rely on humans to create their burrows. Locally, San Diego Zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research (ICR) has been working on the recovery of this species through the relocation of squirrels, the installation of artificial burrows, and the relocation of owls to more appropriate, or less disturbed, habitat.
SDHC currently manages a number of properties where burrowing owls can be found. In coordination with ICR, we have installed brush piles to attract and congregate ground squirrels for natural owl burrow construction. We have further plans to build berms and artificial burrows for potential translocation and natural recruitment. SDHC is dedicated to helping this species thrive on those of our properties that have appropriate habitat and the ecological potential to host these amazing birds.
Stay tuned for more stories about burrowing owls at our preserves!
DONATE TO SDHC TODAY!
Our efforts to preserve native habitat and biodiversity in southern California can only be accomplished with the support of donations. As a dedicated supporter, you are helping to preserve those spaces that are unique to our region and you are helping to ensure that future generations may enjoy the same beauty that never ceases to astound and inspire us.
Please make your voice heard by donating today!
Go to www.sdhabitat.org to donate. Make a minimum $35 donation
and receive a lightweight SDHC t-shirt with our newly designed logo.
AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon with the same products, prices, and shopping features as Amazon.com. The difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to SDHC.
Now your sales on Ebay (and other websites) can help support SDHC. Just click on the "Ebay for Charity" logo above to start donating a percentage of your sales directly to SDHC.
We are now enrolled in the Paypal Giving Fund! Donate through the link above and 100% of your donation will go directly to SDHC!
Don Scoles, Executive Director Sarah Krejca, Senior Conservation Manager Austin Parker, Assistant Habitat Manager Kathy Tonsgard, Accountant Mary Applon, Bookkeeper Volunteer at SDHC Join us! SDHC has volunteer opportunities in a variety of areas!
See our website for details.