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Private Lands Conservation Programs
Rancho Jamul ER - Conservation Efforts
The Department purchased the property in phases between 1998 and 2001 for the primary purpose of sensitive habitat and species conservation. This site is an important component of the Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP) multi-habitat preserve system in southwestern San Diego County, supporting large areas of coastal sage scrub, annual grasslands and riparian habitat. The MSCP is a subregional plan under the auspices of the State's Natural Community Conservation Planning Program (NCCP) program. Numerous public ownerships in the vicinity of Rancho Jamul Ecological Reserve (RJER) connect to provide a large core are a of conserved land, including BLM's Otay Mountain Wilderness Area, the US Fish and Wildlife Service's San Diego-Sweetwater National Wildlife Refuge, CDFW's adjacent Hollenbeck Canyon Wildlife Area and various City and County of San Diego ownerships. The Cleveland National Forest is close but not immediately adjacent to State-owned lands.
Restoration of the riparian areas of Jamul and Dulzura Creeks is the largest of the projects being pursued on RJER through the mitigation bank established by Wildlands, Inc. This bank is providing up to 250 acres of created wetlands habitat and mitigation opportunity for wetlands lost elsewhere in this general vicinity. The wetland restoration and creation construction will likely continue past 2010.
Grassland restoration is proposed through controlled burning, exotic plant control and seeding for the many grassland areas on the property, with a small one acre pilot project started in the northern area of the RJER. Native grassland remnants will provide the seed source for any further restoration efforts. These efforts are expected to be extremely long term because of the size and difficulty in controlling non-native grasses.
Exotic plant species control is a major part of the conservation efforts on the RJER, as part of the riparian restoration and grassland projects, as well as general control efforts to remove noxious weeds and highly invasive species with the potential to cause widespread habitat degradation as those species crowd out more desirable native species.
Oak woodland and riparian augmentation projects are planned to expand existing riparian areas degraded by past ranching and farming on the property. Volunteers will assist with planting trees and removing fences to allow for greater wildlife movement. Water projects are planned to guard against extreme draught conditions and expand available habitat for species limited only by proximity to water.
Monitoring of habitats and the numerous sensitive species found on the Ecological Reserve is being done by Department biologists as well as several contract biologists. In addition, there are several graduate students working on projects, including habitat quality and species home range studies.