693 More Acres Preserved
Last month, The Escondido Creek Conservancy met with board members of The Friends of Daley Ranch and Palomar Audubon Society to celebrate the purchase and preservation of the 693-acre Mountain Meadow Preserve (formerly Mountain Gate development). Both non-profit organizations have been essential partners in the Save 1000 Acres campaign. Mountain Meadow is the first property saved in the campaign–preservation of the 282-acre John Henry Ranch near Lake Wohlford is still in the works and other key connecting pieces are under consideration.
As part of the complex transaction, the Conservancy purchased the 693-acre property then sold most of it to San Diego County Parks. We are managing the entire Preserve under an easement purchased by the Department of the Navy to protect native plants and animals. The Mountain Meadow Preserve will never be developed and is now protected in perpetuity for the benefit of the native plants and animals of California.
On the Mountain Meadow land the Conservancy has retained, we now are the owners of old agricultural structures and an irrigation pond. Although the structures are currently unusable, we plan to re-imagine them over the next few years to support conservation projects. The irrigation pond is being re-imagined as a water source for wildlife to be monitored by student researchers. We aspire to transform a now-vandalized work building into a field station for conservation science where youth from North San DIego County can participate in habitat restoration and hands-on research. These opportunities will provide middle and high school students with real-world field experience that they can carry into college and careers in conservation and science.
We have just begun the visioning process for this beautiful land. We need help of all kinds, from tearing down and disposing of old farm structures (for example, this week volunteers took down an old chicken coop), to seeking donated materials from builders who would like to help us turn the old ag work building into a conservation field station, to people with roofing or building experience, to companies that could help us clean chemicals off the floor, to, of course, your generous donations of cash.
Please join us in 2019 to turn this dream into a reality.