Escondido Creek Restoration Grant Award



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Beginning this fall, Nature Collective will be restoring 55 acres of land along Escondido Creek as part of a multi-year project.

California lies within the Pacific Flyway, an area that stretches from Alaska in the north to Patagonia in South America.

Each year at least a billion birds migrate along the Pacific Flyway, but habitat loss, water shortages, diminishing food sources, and climate change all threaten the birds of the Pacific Flyway.


Pacific Flyway Animated Map

Above: Animated map of the Pacific Flyway migration route. Photo: Open Space Trust.

The San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve and the entire Escondido Creek watershed are critically important for birds moving along the Pacific Flyway, offering diverse habitats, food, and a place to stop and rest.

Last year, we were awarded a multi-year Pacific Flyway Conservation grant by the Wildlife Conservation Board to improve the habitat diversity along Escondido Creek. In the fall of 2021, we began work on this project by reducing areas of dense vegetation made up of invasive species, including eucalyptus trees.

The Wildlife Conservation Board awarded Nature Collective a second grant late last month to further support these efforts. This $2-million Escondido Creek Riparian Restoration grant will expand our habitat restoration efforts along Escondido Creek. New project sites include the Val Sereno Preserve in the Olivenhain area of Encinitas and the northeastern corner and La Orilla trailhead areas of the San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve.

Nature Collective's Habitat Restoration Projects Along the Escondido Creek

Above: A map of habitat restoration sites included in the Pacific Flyway and the Escondido Creek Riparian projects.

Our main project goal is to significantly increase the riparian habitat’s ecological functions. We will remove invasive non-native trees, including eucalyptus, palms, and invasive understory plants, to attain this goal. We will also add riparian trees indigenous to the area, such as the California sycamore, the Fremont cottonwood, and other plants, to the existing mix of native trees and shrubs.

These actions will transform the understory, a layer of vegetation beneath the forest’s main canopy, into a rich and diverse mix of plants and shrubs indigenous to the area. Once established, the riparian trees will also create a beautiful canopy that will welcome more resident and migratory birds, including the federally endangered Least Bell’s Vireo. This small songbird thrives in riparian areas.

California Sycamore

Above: The majestic California Sycamore can grow up to 100 feet.

Concentrating our restoration efforts along Escondido Creek will also enhance wildlife connectivity for mammals such as the Southern mule deer.

Southern mule deer in a field by Escondido Creek

Above: Southern mule deer 

We’ll need your help. Stay tuned for volunteer opportunities for this exciting project. In the meantime, keep looking for birds at San Elijo Lagoon who are making a stop along their migration journey.

A person with binoculars looks for birds at San Elijo Lagoon

Above: A San Elijo Lagoon visitor looks for  birds at San Elijo Lagoon.

This project is funded by the Wildlife Conservation Board and is made possible by our project partners County of San Diego Parks and Recreation and the County of San Diego Public Works.

Grant awards and projects like this would not be possible without your support. Your donation helps Nature Collective identify urgent wildlife needs and plan the best course of action to give nature a helping hand. You help the Pacific Flyway to thrive. Give a gift today!


Individuals/ Foundations/ Funds
Dawn Amodeo
Charles + Katherine Anderson
Leslie + Rick Anderson
Sandeep Bagri
Gladys Baird
Alan + Cheryl Barnebey, Fidelity
Gerald + Luanne Brand
Gregory Brown
Robert + Karen Budetti
Cathy Bullock
Cristina Burlem
Saul Castillo
Laurie + Phil Catron
Church Family Trust
Linda Corder
Oma Cremin + Linda Lochow
Michael + Nan Criqui
Barbara Daedlow-Schweller
Joan Davis
Gail + John Delalla
Peter Delmonte + Katherine Blumberg, Ameritrade
James Determan
John + Julia Durkin
Linda Dye
Charyn Fierroz
Scott + Melissa Fischel
Golich Family Foundation, Coastal Community Foundation ***
Tom + Donna Golich ***
Rod Goodson + Jill Malone
Graham and Mengler Giving Fund, Fidelity Charitable
Jim & Carrie Greenstein Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation*
Karen Grossman
Chuck + Lee Hawley
Kenneth & Susan Heffner Donor Fund, Schwab Charitable
Christy Hendrickson
Marlaine Hubbard
Michael + Jeannie Huse
Debbie Inada
Cecilia + Douglas Jolly
Jim Kaae + Mary Lou Kaae
Michael Kalichman + Linda Roux
Carol Katayama
Sharon Klein
Margaret + Peter Kohl***
Trudy Kohout + Stephen Perry
Deb Kresch
Leonard + Marti Kutnik
Steven + Alexis Larky, Schwab Charitable
Marianne + Charles Leighton
Forsyth Leonard Fund, Rancho Santa Fe Foundation
Irene Lowe
Donna Mancuso + Frederick Dawn
Deborah + Frank McRock
Andrea Meyer
Geoffrey Miller + Karen Haubrich
Linda + Graham Milner
Phyllis O’Dwyer
James + Marinee Payne
Dr. AnnKatrin Petersen
Todd Plastino
Donna + Don Raub
Jeff + Karin Riggs
Joy + Lawrence Rogers
Clay Rose Family Fund, Fidelity Charitable
Samantha Runkel
Jerry + Lynn Sandlin
Andrew + Erica Saphire
Patricia Sarkar
Hillel Schwartz, Great Nonprofits
Kenneth + Lynn Selzer
Jamie + Jerry Shiller
Eric Slater + Marcia Pilatti
Pemberton + Jean Smith
Albert + Sandra Southworth
Martin + Nancy Stabb
Joe + Diane Steinberg
Dave + Denise Stillinger, Charles Schwab ***
Helen Stratton
Debbie Struck-Shampain
James Summers
Julianna Thomas
Mike Tice
Anna Willis + Kurtis Rarick
Clint + Elizabeth Winant
Art + Sandy Yayanos, Fidelity***
Eiji + Kahori Yutani
Mike + Judy Zazvrskey

In Honor
Dadla Ponizil + Judy Berlfein, in honor of Judy Berlfein

Amazon Smile Foundation
Marathon Construction
San Diego Gas & Electric on behalf of John Osborne
Union Bank Foundation

*President Circle
***President + Legacy Circle

Feature Image:  Least Bell’s Vireo

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