The City of San Diego Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP) provides a framework for preserving and protecting natural resources in the San Diego region. The City of San Diego (City) prepared a Subarea Plan under the MSCP to meet the requirements of the California Natural Communities Conservation Planning (NCCP) Act of 1992. The Carmel Mountain Preserve and Del Mar Mesa Preserve Resource Management Plan (RMP) describes the tasks that will ensure management and maintenance of the Preserves in accordance with the MSCP and the Subarea Plan.
This plan has been prepared to provide guidelines for the protection and maintenance of preserved natural open space on the Carmel Mountain Preserve and the Del Mar Mesa Preserve (Preserves). The natural open space of the Preserves harbors extremely sensitive and depleted plant communities and species unique to the region. Vernal pools and the associated federally and state listed flora and fauna; southern maritime chaparral; short-leaved dudleya (Dudleya blochmaniae ssp. Brevifolia); and the continuity of habitat for wildlife movement and gene flow are the primary resources identified for protection on these Preserves. The Preserves also act to protect the quality of life for residents of San Diego County and the quality of the experience for visitors by adding to the feeling of openness and interaction with nature that San Diego projects.
The City of San Diego Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP) provides a framework for preserving and protecting natural resources in the San Diego region. The City of San Diego prepared a Subarea Plan under the MSCP to meet the requirements of the California Natural Communities Conservation Planning (NCCP) Act of 1992. The Carmel Mountain Preserve and Del Mar Mesa Preserve Management Plan describes the tasks which will allow the City to manage and maintain the Preserves in accordance with the MSCP and the Subarea Plan.
The herpetofauna (reptiles and amphibians) of coastal southern California are very
diverse (Stebbins, 1985; Fisher and Case, 2000) due to a variety of factors including topography,
history, and climate. The complex topography, with steep slopes, canyons and hills combined
with flat regions on mesas and in lowlands, provides for many different microhabitats that can
support unique fauna. These microhabitats, in combination with the Mediterranean climate in
southern California, support high levels of herpetofauna and ant biodiversity by providing
adequate moisture and producing mild and warm temperatures, allowing for activity nearly all
year. The herpetofauna consists of over 70 species in coastal southern California, of which 24 are
considered sensitive at the state or federal levels (Fisher and Case, 1997a; Jennings and Hayes,
1994). Suarez et al. (1998) documented 46 native and four exotic ant species in coastal San
Diego County in habitats similar to those in this study. Urban, industrial and agricultural
development has left much of the remaining open space highly fragmented. The future of
herpetofaunal and ant diversity in southern California will depend on an understanding of the
distribution and abundance of these species within this fragmented landscape. Management
decisions for protecting these fragments should be based on scientific research in order to best
maintain this region's natural resources. In southern California, the Multiple Species
Conservation Plan (MSCP) is a large reserve of high quality habitat for conservation of
biodiversity in urban San Diego. As such, it plays an important role in maintaining coastal
populations of the herpetofauna (herps), as it is one of the few significant protected regions in
coastal San Diego County.
The Carmel Mountain and Del Mar Mesa Preserves are within the MSCP reserve, but are
fragmented by urban and industrial development,. An important step towards maintaining
herpetofaunal diversity, particularly sensitive species, is identification of immediate management
needs. In addition, ants serve many roles on different ecosystem levels, and can serve as
sensitive indicators of change for a variety of factors. Data gathered from studying these taxa in
this area can provide the baseline data on which long-term land management plans can be based.
To achieve this goal, we conducted a biological inventory of the Carmel Mountain and Del Mar
Mesa Ecological Preserves, including veget
In 2002, the City of San Diego (City) received funding through a U. S. Fish and
Wildlife Service (USFWS) Section 6 Planning Grant to complete an inventory and
management plan of vernal pools within the City's jurisdiction.
This inventory builds on several previous studies and surveys, which were used
to determine the general locations of individual vernal pools and complexes.
Beauchamp (1979) and Bauder (1986) covered the greater portion of San Diego
County, and represent complexes as polygons. Villasenor and Riggan (1979) and
Zedler and Ebert (1979) mapped the boundaries of individual vernal pool basins within
Kearny Mesa and Del Mar Mesa, respectively. Much of the area currently owned by
the City and other jurisdictions has never been surveyed for specific vernal pools and,
in many cases, historical maps do not accurately represent the existing basins. This
inventory does not, however, include vernal pools known to occur on military lands
(i.e., MCAS Miramar, Navy Chollas Heights) within the City but not under City
The MSCP Biological Monitoring Plan (1996) identifies Carmel Mountain and Del Mar Mesa as City of San Diego Brodiaea orcuttii monitoring locations. The General Dynamics, Carroll Canyon, and Nobel Drive populations have also been monitored since 2001 when they were identified via City-wide rare plant surveys.
San Diego goldenstar (Muilla clevelandii) is a rare plant species associated with grassland areas. Monitoring for this plant was conducted on May 19, 2003 on Del Mar Mesa by City of San Diego staff. Monitoring for this species began in 2001 and has been conducted annually (McMillan Biological Consulting and Conservation Biology Institute, 2001; Wildlife Research Institute, 2002). The methodology and results of the monitoring are detailed below. The goal of the effort was to continue the annual collection of data for long-term monitoring of San Diego goldenstar under the MSCP.