2202 S. Coast Highway Oceanside, CA 92054

Buena Vista Audubon and Land Acquisition

Buena Vista Lagoon Parcel

BV Lagoon Parcel

The Buena Vista Lagoon Parcel was BVAS's first property acquisition; Escrow closed in January, 2016 on this 3.5-acre piece of property across the street from the BVAS Nature Center.

This parcel is a key piece of rare undeveloped coastal habitat, and is also adjacent to the Buena Vista Lagoon Ecological Reserve. It will become part of the adjacent Ecological Reserve, with BVAS retaining ownership. BVAS and the California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife (CDF&W), the agency that manages the Ecological Reserve, will work together to restore and manage this new addition to the ecological reserve. An anticipated memorandum of understanding between BVAS and CDF&W will address the respective responsibilities of each party with respect to such issues as on-going habitat management and educational outreach to the community.

Home to the endangered Light-footed Ridgway's Rail (formerly known as Clapper's Rail) and other rare species of birds, this piece of land also provides a buffer between urban development and the Ecological Reserve. BVAS hopes to help restore this parcel to its historical salt marsh wetlands and coastal sage scrub habitat. The restoration planning and implementation will likely be done as part of the Buena Vista Lagoon Enhancement Project, which will be done some years in the future. More immediately, CDF&W will be working with BVAS to remove exotic plants, such as eucalyptus trees and ice plant, and engage in regular trash removal.


The property was slated to become an 82-room hotel in 2008, but due to wetland delineation issues identified by the Coastal Commission, the project was scrapped. Shortly after, BVAS looked into purchasing the property, but the price of $7 million was prohibitive; In 2013,a new owner dropped the price to $1.5 million, and expressed interest in BVAS purchasing the land for conservation. BVAS then began the land purchasing process, including reaching out to BVAS members, the community, and state agencies for support.

BVAS created the BVAS Ridgway's Rail Society Land Acquisition Fund to raise money from the community. Through this fund, $70,000 was acquired from over 200 individual donors. In addition, three non-profit groups each pledged $50,000 towards purchase of the land: Preserve Calavera, North County Advocates, and The Wimberly Fund of Audubon California. And the Buena Vista Lagoon Foundation donated $10,000. This community commitment, support and, collaboration paved the way for BVAS to be awarded a grant of $1.35 million given from the Wildlife Conservation Board of the Department of Fish & Wildlife in December, 2015,to complete the funding needed to acquire the land.

San Luis Rey River Parcel

San Luis Rey Parcel 3

BVAS is in the process of purchasing a 31-acre parcel (currently owned by the Cheatham family) that lies in between the San Luis Rey River and Camp Pendleton.  The property lies at the end of Muirfields Drive in Oceanside.  Acquiring this land will link together four contiguous protected areas: Camp Pendleton directly to the north, and a piece of city owned property and Whelan Lake Bird Sanctuary to the east (see map). The city-owned property was restored in 2015 to provide habitat for the endangered southwest willow flycatcher and least Bell’s vireo. Acquiring the 31-acre parcel will allow BVAS to restore it to coastal sage scrub and chaparral habitats, suitable for the federally listed as "threatened" California gnatcatcher and other threatened and endangered animal and plant species.

BVAS is currently in escrow for the Cheatham property purchase. We are grateful to those who are helping make it possible to permanently protect this parcel.

The Department of the Navy is paying for half of the $1.56 million acquisition costs, and all of the restoration and long-term management costs-in all, an approximate $3.1 million value. The California Natural Resources Agency has awarded BVAS $700,000 for the land acquisition. Thanks to grants from CA Audubon's Wimberly Fund ($25,000), North County Advocates ($20,000), and the Brian Malk Nature Fund ($30,000), BVAS was able to make up a funding shortfall. We also received funds from local community members.


BVAS wishes to thank all of our donors for helping make acquiring and protecting these critical pieces of land possible.

Future Funding Needs: The Ridgway's Rail Society Fund

Willow flycatcher
Willow flycatcher

What now? BVAS has received the funding to acquire these two properties, but we are still raising funds for the Ridgway's Rail Society Fund for possible future land acquisition, conservation easements, and restoration and management activities.  For more information about the Ridgway's Rail Society Fund.

Our Mission

Conservation Through Education, Advocacy, Land Management, and Monitoring

Mailing Address

Buena Vista Audubon
PO Box 480
Oceanside, CA 92049

Nature Center

2202 S. Coast Highway
Oceanside, CA 92054



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