BVAS Wetlands Reserve

BV Lagoon Parcel

Why is the Reserve important?

The Buena Vista Audubon Society (BVAS) Wetlands Reserve was BVAS's first property acquisition, purchased in early 2016. This 3.5-acre parcel is located directly across the street from the BVAS Nature Center. A key piece of rare undeveloped coastal habitat in the area, the Wetlands Reserve is also adjacent to the Buena Vista Lagoon Ecological Reserve. Home to the endangered Light-footed Ridgway's Rail (Rallus obsoletus levipes)and other rare species of birds, this piece of land also provides a buffer between urban development and the Ecological Reserve.

History of the Reserve

The property was slated to become an 82-room hotel in 2008. However, due to wetland delineation issues identified by the Coastal Commission, the hotel 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 selling the land to BVAS for conservation purposes. BVAS then began reaching out to our members, the community, and state agencies for support. As donations began flowing in, BVAS created a new land acquisition and conservation fund to hold these donations; thus, the BVAS Ridgway's Rail Society Fund (RRSF) was born.


By January, 2016, BVAS had raised a total of $1,560,000 towards the purchase—of this, $70,000 came from over 200 individual donors. Three local non-profits provided grants of $50,000 each: Preserve Calavera, North County Advocates, and the Wimberly Fund at Audubon California. In addition,  the Buena Vista Lagoon Foundation donated $10,000. This community commitment and support paved the way for BVAS to receive a grant of $1.35 million from the Wildlife Conservation Board of the Department of Fish & Wildlife in December, 2015, which completed the funding needed to acquire the land. With this acquisition, BVAS became a landowner for the first time in its more than 65 years of existence.

What are our plans for the Wetlands Reserve?

Currently, BVAS is seeking funding to create a restoration plan for the Wetlands Reserve, with the goal to restore it to its historic wetlands marsh/coastal sage scrub habitat. Because this property is directly adjacent to the Buena Vista Lagoon Ecological Reserve, it will eventually become an important part of the future restoration of the Ecological Reserve.

If you are interested in making a donation toward future Wetlands Reserve restoration efforts, please donate to the Ridgway's Rail Society Fund. You can also read more about the Ridgway's Rail Society Fund which is a fund that supports land management and restoration, future land acquisitions, general conservation efforts, and advocacy. Make a donation to the Ridgway's Rail Society Fund.


For current maintenance of the Wetlands Reserve, BVAS is seeking volunteers to help remove exotic plants, such as eucalyptus trees, fennel, and ice plant. This is a formidable task, and we rely on volunteer help. If you would like to help, please contact us through our website contact form or email our volunteer coordinator.  We have had incredible volunteer help in the past and thank our Native Plant Crew, local community groups, and companies that have helped.


Thank you to funders and supporters!!!

BVAS is grateful to those who helped make it possible to permanently protect this parcel. It is testament to the community that we were able to raise the funds to purchase the property.


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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Wednesday 10 am-1 pm
Thursday 10 am-1 pm
Friday 10 am-1 pm
Saturday 10 am-1 pm

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