Why did Buena Vista Audubon Society acquire the Preserve?
At the same time that Buena Vista Audubon Society (BVAS) was proceeding to purchase the Wetlands Reserve, another parcel of land became available—a 31-acre former dairy farm directly adjacent to Camp Pendleton in north Oceanside. BVAS saw an opportunity to help preserve more land within its geographical scope, an important component of our conservation mission.
With the help of Land Conservation Brokerage, Inc., BVAS entered into a partnership with the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) at Camp Pendleton, through their Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) program. Here, the USMC paid half of the $1.56million in acquisition costs and all of the restoration and long-term management costs. The California Natural Resources Agency awarded BVAS $700,000 toward the land acquisition costs through their Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Program.
BVAS reached out to the community to help make up the funding shortfall and, once again, the community stepped forward to help. Donations from members covered $40,000 of the shortfall; California Audubon's Wimberly Fund ($25,000), North County Advocates ($20,000), and the Malk Nature Fund ($30,000) covered the rest. BVAS closed escrow on the property in June, 2017.
Previously owned by the Cheatham family, the now-named Andy Mauro Nature Preserve is strategically located for habitat protection. Acquiring this land has effectively linked four contiguous areas: Camp Pendleton directly to the north, undeveloped City-owned property and the Whelan Lake Bird Sanctuary to the east, and the San Luis Rey River to the east and south. A portion of City-owned land between the Mauro Reserve and the San Luis Rey River was restored in 2015 to provide habitat for the endangered Southwestern Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus) and Least Bell's Vireo (Vireo bellii pusillus).
BVAS is in the third year of habitat restoration, with the goal to restore the property to coastal sage scrub, grasslands, and maritime succulent scrub to provide habitat for the federally protected coastal California Gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica californica) and the coastal Cactus Wren (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus). BVAS developed the 6-year restoration plan in partnership with the USMC REPI program at Camp Pendleton.
BVAS hired Trestles Environmental Corporation in 2018 to conduct and manage this project. The first 2−3 years of restoration focus solely on removing invasive weeds. These efforts kicked off in late August, 2019, with the rumble of mowing machines cutting swaths through thickets of fennel, mustard, and thistle. Planting and seeding of native plants will occur after the weed control has gained a handle on the prolific level of weeds. Once restoration is complete, long-term management begins, which involves land maintenance activities and monitoring into perpetuity. For details on the restoration plan, please click here.
Thank you to funders and supporters!!!
BVAS is grateful to those who helped make it possible to permanently protect this parcel. And a special thank you to the Cheatham family (Scot and Aileen, David and Sharon) for working with BVAS to make this acquisition possible—patiently waiting for us to find the right funding partners and agreeing to extend the purchase agreement.
Besides protecting and restoring wildlife habitat, the Andy Mauro Nature Preserve also hosts a UNAVCO GPS monitoring station, which monitors the earth's movement using satellites and geodesy. For more information on this project, check out the UNAVCO website.
Future Funding Needs: The Ridgway's Rail Society Fund
What now? BVAS has now acquired the BVAS Wetlands Reserve and BVAS Andy Mauro Nature Preserve, but we continue to raise funds for the Ridgway's Rail Society Fund for managing and restoring these properties, for future land acquisitions, conservation easements, and advocacy work. For more information about the Ridgway's Rail Society Fund.
Conservation Through Education, Advocacy, Land Management, and Monitoring
Buena Vista Audubon
PO Box 480
Oceanside, CA 92049
Tuesday 10 am-1 pm
Wednesday 10 am-1 pm
Thursday 10 am-1 pm
Friday 10 am-1 pm
Saturday 10 am-1 pm