Article abstract: The Ramona Grasslands host a unique assemblage of resources: ? The southernmost population of the endangered Stephens? kangaroo rat; ? Unique vernal wetlands that support endangered San Diego fairy shrimp and several rare plant species; ? Santa Maria Creek and associated habitats are important for neotropical migrant songbirds and the endangered arroyo toad; and ? A diverse raptor community, including the largest population of wintering ferruginous hawks in San Diego. Oak savannah, riparian woodlands, alkali playas, native perennial grasslands, and rock outcrops contribute to the diversity and ecosystem functions within the grasslands. These resources are imminently threatened by the indirect impacts of urbanization and thus require science-informed monitoring and management to ensure their persistence. The Ramona Grasslands comprise a significant portion of the Santa Maria Creek subbasin of the San Dieguito River watershed. The Santa Maria Creek, which drains the urbanizing community of Ramona, flows westward through the grasslands, then through Bandy Canyon to its confluence with Santa Ysabel Creek. Below the confluence, the San Dieguito River flows through San Pasqual Valley into Lake Hodges, a City of San Diego drinking water reservoir. The creek corridor serves as both a hydrological and habitat linkage for numerous species. It also provides essential ecosystem processes, such as natural filtration of anthropogenic contaminants that may impair downstream water quality. The Ramona Grasslands Preserve functions as a core habitat area within a regional network of existing and anticipated conservation lands. The coastal sage scrub, chaparral, and oak woodlands of the surrounding landscape, together with the grasslands, riparian habitat, and vernal wetlands of the core area, constitute an exceptional concentration of regionally and globally significant resources. That significance is reflected by the near complete overlap of the Preserve area by federal Critical Habitat designations (San Diego fairy shrimp, arroyo toad, and California gnatcatcher).
Number of pages: 118
Purpose: This framework management and monitoring plan provides guidance to maintain and enhance the conservation values of the Ramona Grasslands Open Space Preserve.
Prepared for: The Nature Conservancy;
Prepared by: Conservation Biology Institute;
Keywords: adaptive management; alkali playas; County of San Diego; grasslands; Jurisdictions management and monitoring reports; management; monitoring; public access; Ramona; riparian; San Diego County; swales; vernal pools;