The Escondido Creek Preserve (Preserve) is an approximately 347-acre open space preserve located southwest of Harmony Grove, west of the City of Escondido, south of the City of San Marcos, and east of the City of Encinitas, within the Elfin Forest community of unincorporated San Diego County, California. The Preserve is owned by the County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) and is included in the proposed North County Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP) preserve system. The DPR proposes to manage the Preserve in accordance with a Resource Management Plan (RMP), including Area-Specific Management Directives (ASMDs), currently being developed for the Preserve pursuant to the requirements of the MSCP.
The majority of the Preserve supports high quality native vegetation communities; however, invasive non-native plants are present in portions of the Preserve and are outcompeting native species and reducing the biological functions and values of these communities. In discrete locations, human disturbance has resulted in unvegetated areas, which are subject to erosion. Over half of the Preserve was most recently burned during the 1996 Harmony Fire, while the vast majority of the remaining portions of the Preserve burned most recently in 1943 (FRAP 2011). Much of the vegetation on site has recovered during the 15 year fire-free period; although in some areas, effects of the fire remain more visible than others.
Dudek conducted a baseline biodiversity study of the Escondido Creek Preserve (Preserve) to
provide the County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) with current
baseline biological data and information needed to develop a Resource Management Plan
(RMP), including Area-Specific Management Directives (ASMDs), for the Preserve. The
Preserve is located in the Elfin Forest community of unincorporated San Diego County and is
owned and managed by DPR.
This report documents the methods and results of this study, and provides various management
recommendations for AMSDs to preserve and enhance the function of the Preserve as biological
open space in the context of the conservation goals and guidelines of the Draft North County
Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP) Plan.
Dudek biologists performed the following baseline biological surveys on the Preserve from
summer 2010 through spring 2011: vegetation mapping, focused botanical surveys, exotic
species mapping, general butterfly surveys, herpetological pitfall trap surveys, avian point count
surveys, bat surveys, small mammal trapping, and large and medium mammal surveys.
Thirteen vegetation communities and land cover types were identified on site including: Diegan
coastal sage scrub, eucalyptus woodland, non-native grassland, southern coast live oak riparian
forest, southern mixed chaparral, southern willow scrub, coast live oak woodland, southern
riparian woodland, valley needlegrass grassland, non-native vegetation, disturbed habitat,
developed land, and orchard.
A total of 184 plant species were recorded on the Preserve during the surveys. Six special-status
plant species were observed, of which two are North County MSCP-covered species. A total of
145 wildlife species were observed or detected on the Preserve during the surveys, including 4
amphibians, 12 reptiles, 83 birds, 31 mammals, and 15 butterflies. Twenty-nine special-status
wildlife species were observed or detected on the Preserve, including nine North County MSCP