Buena Vista Lagoon Parcel
Buena Vista Audubon Society is now a landowner, for the first time in its 60+ year history. Escrow closed in January, 2016 on a 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 be working together to restore and manage this new addition to the ecological reserve. An anticipated memorandum of understanding between BVAS and CDF&W would address the respective responsibilities of the parties 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 having BVAS purchase the land for conservation. BVAS then began the land purchasing process, which included reaching out to BVAS members, the community, and state agencies for support.
BVAS created the BVAS Ridgway's Rail 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.
BVAS wishes to thank all of our donors for helping make acquiring and protecting this critical piece of coastal land possible.
San Luis Rey River Parcel
BVAS is in the process of purchasing a 31-acre parcel that lies in between the San Luis Rey River and Camp Pendleton. Acquiring this land would 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 willow flycatcher and least Bell’s vireo. Acquiring the 31-acre parcel would allow BVAS to restore it to coastal sage scrub and chaparral habitats, suitable for the endangered California gnatcatcher and other endangered animal and plant species.
The exciting news is that Department of the Navy has already pledged to cover half of the cost of land acquisition and the entire cost of restoration and management of this property. BVAS is now seeking the remaining $750,000-$800,000 in funds needed to purchase the land. Similar to the successful campaign to purchase the lagoon parcel, BVAS will be using funds raised directly from the community to help convince other potential funders to support this acquisition and restoration. The Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) is currently reviewing BVAS'sdetailed grant application. Local WCB staff have reviewed and recommended funding for this project, and the proposal has been advanced to the WCB in Sacramento. Should all go well, the WCB Board of Governors will approve the project for its 2016/17 Action Plan. A review and approval of the appraisal of the property by the State Department of General Services would then follow, before the project would be returned to WCB for final funding.
BVAS is encouraging the community to join the effort to purchase and restore this important property. All donations to the Ridgway’s Rail Society Fund will help us permanently protect this piece of land for the California gnatcatcher and other species. Donations are fully tax-deductible, and will be used for this and future land acquisitions and related expenses, habitat restoration projects, and on-going habitat management costs.
If you have questions or would like to discuss your possible participation in confidence, please contact Andy Mauro (760-753-1266).
Conservation Through Education, Advocacy, Land Management, and Monitoring
Buena Vista Audubon
PO Box 480
Oceanside, CA 92049
Tuesday 10 am-4 pm
Wednesday 10 am-4 pm
Thursday 10 am-4 pm
Friday 10 am-4 pm
Saturday 10 am-4 pm