Ford Wildlife Habitat Preserve: Riparian Enhancement

Improving Riparian Habitat in the Ford Wildlife Preserve of San Elijo Lagoon

Biologists with San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy's Habitat Management Program are overseeing the removal of non-native plant species on the Ford Property adjacent to San Elijo Lagoon. This 33-acre preserve (no public access) provides important habit for Great Horned Owls, coyotes, mule deer, and endangered birds, such as Least Bell's Vireo. These animals depend on native riparian vegetation to survive and thrive.

Great communities and healthy lagoons depend upon unrestricted waterflow. Most of the watershed drains along Escondido Creek through this property.

Targeted plants that restrict water flow and degrade native habitat will be removed: acacia, eucalyptus, and tamarisk, in addition to other invasive plants (see right). 

This enhancement project also includes re-vegetating these areas with native plants. Some of this work is conducted during monthly Lagoon Platoon restoration events with the help of community volunteers.

While this area is not accessible by the public, it's important for you to know what occurs behind-the-scenes to keep wetlands healthy and thriving.

The timing of the Fall 2012 removal was selected for several reasons: post-breeding season for native birds and before significant winter storm arrival. The eucalyptus grove targeted for removal contains no active nests or rookeries during regular observation by Conservancy biologists.

The invasive plant removal and regulatory agency-approved treatment is funded by State of California Wildlife Conservation BoardNatural Resources Conservation Service, in partnership wtih ACS Management Services (contractor) and San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy.

Stay informed with Conservancy news and become a member to help support the management of resources for wildlife and for people in San Elijo Lagoon.






Watch the transformation of the Ford Wildlife Habitat Preserve from invasive eucalyptus forest to native riparian habitat.
Started by SELC Interns, this guide shows many of the plants used to create high-quality, native habitat in the Escondido Creek corridor. Download now to study up and get ready for our next Community Habitat Restoration volunteer event!

To improve habitat for native plant and animal species, and water circulation along Escondido Creek, these invasive plants are targeted for removal:

  • coastal wattle (Acacia longifolia)
  • Red River and blue gum (Eucalpytus sp.)
  • Tamarisk/Salt Cedar (Tamarix sp.)
  • giant reed (Arundo donax)
  • Brazilian peppertree (Schinus terebinthifolius)
  • Canary Island date palm (Phoenix canariensis)
  • perennial pepperweed (Lepidium latifolium)
  • common iceplant / Hottentot fig (Carpobrotus edulis)
  • pampas grass (Cortaderia sp.)

The Ford Property Riparian Restoration is conducted in cooperation with landowners who are offering access routes and are coordinating invasive plant treatment on their properties as well. 

Did you know?

  • Acacia leaves will be hauled away by San Diego Zoo to feed their serows, duikers, anoas, gurnuks, giraffes, and elephants.
  • Many of the invasive trees will be mulched. This mulch will be used to supplement parking areas around the Reserve.

For more information, please contact:

Bradley Nussbaum, Habitat Management Director
(760) 436-3944 x 700
bradley [at] sanelijo [dot] org