Rare Species Discovered
Rarely do treasure hunts end in actually finding treasure, but The Escondido Creek Conservancy had an absolutely successful treasure hunt this December. On a sunny winter day, land managers Hannah and Leonard set out with intern Colin, looking for the rare plant Encinitas baccharis (Baccharis vanessae). They headed to Cielo Estates, a part of the Los Cielos Preserve complex that was recently acquired and had not yet been fully explored. They crawled through dense ceanothus and were just beginning to lose hope when they heard Leonard call out. A few minutes and much jubilation later, they had confirmed a large new occurrence of EB, one of just 13 known in the county. In the course of the exploration, they also located several occurrences of relatively rare plants Summer Holly and Palmer’s Sagewort.
Not only is it exciting to know vulnerable plants have been hiding in our midst, it is also crucial for management success. We observed invasive plants like pampas grass and ice plant encroaching dangerously close to the EB occurrences. As such – though TECC has always done robust invasive management – this fall we will initiate our first comprehensive weed removal effort working with contractor Habitat West. The native plants and animals will be very happy!
Interested in becoming an intern with The Escondido Creek Conservancy? Check out our summer internship opportunities.