San Diego Management & Monitoring Program


Track MSP progress

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vernal pools and alkali playa

Goal: Protect, enhance, and restore vernal pool habitat on Conserved Lands in the MSPA that supports or has the potential to support VF and SL species (i.e., California Orcutt grass, Otay mesa mint, San Diego button-celery, San Diego mesa mint, spreading navarretia, Riverside fairy shrimp, San Diego fairy shrimp, and western spadefoot) so that the vegetation community has high ecological integrity, and these species are resilient to environmental stochasticity and threats, such as altered hydrology, climate change and invasive plants, and will be likely to persist over the long term (>100 years).

Regional and/or Local NFO 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021

MGT-IMP-VPML1 VERPOO-4

Management units: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Beginning in 2018, conduct annual routine stewardship management to maintain vernal pool habitat and existing MSP species populations as defined in the VPMMP (City of San Diego 2015). Level 1 pools are those where little maintenance is needed, other than routine access patrols and enforcement, removal of trash and debris, edge effects maintenance (e.g., offsite erosion control and irrigation management), maintaining fencing and signage, reparing trespass damage, repairing minor topographic disturbances, and controlling invasive plants for MSP species and general habitat maintenance (2 visits per spring).
Action Statement Action status Projects
IMP-1 Submit project metadata, datasets, and annual Vernal Pool Management and Monitoring Report with results and management recommendations to the MSP web portal On hold Vernal Pool Restoration , Proctor Valley Vernal Pools and Uplands Habitat Restoration Project
Criteria Deadline year
Level 1 Management implemented annually and report submitted 2021
Code Obj. code Statement
VERPOO-1 MON-SURV-VEG Beginning in 2018, conduct annual qualitative monitoring of all vernal pools on Conserved Lands in the MSPA to document threats such as trampling, dumping and invasive plants, and as defined in the City of San Diego's Vernal Pool Managment and Monitoring Plan (VPMMP; City of San Diego 2015). Qualitative surveys should be conducted during the wet season using standardized protocols and should assess threats, whether pools are inundated, and verify fairy shrimp viability and reproduction. Three visits should be made during the wet season to determine pool inundation. The monitoring results should be used to determine the overall disturbance category (i.e., Levels 1-3), formulate management recommendations and to determine whether more comprehensive threats monitoring is required.
VERPOO-2 MON-SURV-VEG Beginning in 2018, conduct baseline hydrological surveys of vernal pools on Conserved Lands in the MSPA to characterize the hydrology of each basin within a vernal pool complex and prepare a report with survey results for each pool complex. Use a standardized methodology and protocol to determine maximum pool depth, define pool inlet and outlets, and geomorphic setting of the complex, as described in the VPMMP (City of San Diego 2015).
VERPOO-3 MON-EVAL-DIST Starting in 2018, conduct a topographic disturbance assessment if annual qualitiative monitoring indicates there is topographical and/or hydrological disturbance at a vernal pool (see City of San Diego VPMMP). Measure maximum pool depth for each basin, determine inlet and outlet locations. These data can be compared against baseline hydrological survey data to inform management recommendations. If there is a need to reconstruct a basin because of disturbance, then monitoring should be repeated to determine if the restored pool has achieved hydrological function.
VERPOO-5 MGT-IMP-VPML2 Beginning in 2018, conduct Level 2 management to enhance and stabilize vernal pool habitat and MSP species that monitoring has shown to be in decline based on VPMMP (City of San Diego 2015) management triggers. Level 2 management includes implementing all Level 1 actions in addition to other more intensive management. This more intensive management includes mechanized and hand repair to baseline conditions those moderate topographic disturbances that affect pool integrity, ponding potential and overall size as defined in the VPMMP (City of San Diego 2015). Vernal pools with MSP species should be dethatched as needed to clear thatch from vernal pool basins and in = 20-foot surrounding site-specific management buffers followed up with invasive plant control 2 times in the spring. General invasive plant control should be conducted in other vernal pool basins and/or associated upland watersheds, with the number of visits increased to 3 per year. For Level 2 management, seed banking, bulking and redistribution may be needed to enhance declining populations of MSP plant species. For declining MSP fairy shrimp populations, additional monitoring is required to determine what is causing the decline followed by management to mitigate the threat. Shrimp cysts may need to be collected from other pools in the complex and redistributed into the impacted pool, although with no collection from pools containing Lindahl's fairy shrimp. Off-site cyst collection may be implemented if there is no on-site cyst bank or it is too depauperate.
VERPOO-6 MGT-IMP-VPML3 Beginning in 2018, conduct Level 3 management to restore vernal pool habitat and MSP species that monitoring has shown to be in decline or in very poor condition based on VPMMP (City of San Diego 2015) management triggers. Level 3 management includes implementing all Level 1 actions in addition to other more intensive management. This more intensive management includes restoring existing pools to increase populaitons of MSP species, mechanized and hand repair to baseline conditions those extensive topographic disturbances that affect pool integrity, ponding potential and overall size as defined in the VPMMP (City of San Diego 2015). Vernal pools with MSP species should be dethatched as needed to clear thatch from vernal pool basins and in a 35-foot watershed management buffer followed up with invasive plant control 4 times in the spring. General invasive plant control should be conducted in other vernal pool basins and/or associated upland watersheds, with the number of visits increased to 4 per year. For Level 3 management, some MSP species may be absent from the seed bank, requiring off-site collection from genetically appropriate populations, bulking and redistribution to restore the MSP species seed bank. Container plantings may also be needed to restore MSP species. For declining MSP fairy shrimp populations, additional monitoring is required to determine what is causing the decline followed by management to mitigate the threat. Shrimp cysts may need to be collected from other pools in the complex and redistributed into the impacted pool, although with no collection from pools containing Lindahl's fairy shrimp. Off-site cyst collection may be implemented if there is no on-site cyst bank or it is too depauperate.