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Image courtesy of San Diego Union Tribune (Charlie Neuman)

Pollinator garden sparks metamorphosis in downtown Escondido

November 26, 2018

In downtown Escondido, between Evan’s Tires and the concrete banks of the Escondido Creek, a transformation was in progress.

A gold and black Monarch caterpillar inched up the stem of a milkweed plant in Plaza Del Arroyo last week, seeking leaves that would fuel its conversion to a vivid orange butterfly.

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Reidy Creek

Escondido Creek Conservancy Awarded $380K to improve Reidy Creek

September 15, 2018

The Escondido Creek Conservancy (Conservancy) has been awarded $380,873 by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to implement the Reidy Creek Restoration and Beautification Project. 

“Reidy Creek is an important natural waterway in the Escondido Creek watershed,” said Richard Murphy, president of the Conservancy, “but it has suffered from infestations of non-native plants that have diminished the ecological values of the creek.” 

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Image courtesy of Olivenhain Municipal Water District.

New Exhibit at Elfin Forest Center Explores ‘Coexisting with Coyotes’

September 5, 2018

A new exhibit at the interpretive center in Escondido’s Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve explores how San Diego residents can coexist with coyotes.

As these highly adaptable animals continue to lose their traditional habitat and are driven onto human-occupied areas, conflict between people and coyotes has increased. Between 1998 and 2015 there were 90 reported coyote attacks on humans in California.

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Image courtesy of San Diego Union Tribune (Don Boomer).

This deserted avocado grove could be a gateway to science education

August 6, 2018

The hilltop off of Mountain Meadow Road in North Escondido looks like countless other deserted orchards in North County, with ramshackle structures in withered avocado groves.

Members of The Escondido Creek Conservancy, however, see a sanctuary from urban sprawl, a clear route for wildlife passage and a future science education center. They’ve secured $6.8 million to purchase 693 acres east of Interstate 15 known as the Mountain Gate Property. It’s a key piece of the conservancy’s plan to assemble large areas of protected open space through the Escondido Creek watershed.

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Image courtesy of San Diego Foundation.

San Diego Foundation grants open the outdoors to students without park access

July 20, 2018

The San Diego Foundation has committed more than a half-million dollars through its “Opening the Outdoors” program to benefit residents in “park-poor” areas of the county, including several grants aimed at Escondido students.

“We know that San Diegans have a long history and pride in protecting the outdoors,” said Nicola Hedge, director of climate and environment programs for the foundation. “But we also know that not all San Diegans have equal access to the outdoors. While 50 percent of our total region is green space, many ethnically diverse, low-income communities have limited access to green space.”

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Harmony Grove

Illegal Mountain Bike Trail Found in Escondido Creek Conservancy

March 2, 2018

An illegal mountain bike trail was discovered on San Marcos property owned by the Escondido Creek Conservancy last December.

The unsanctioned trail is on a 250-acre plot of land owned by the Conservancy and stretches for at least one mile.

“This is sensitive, beautiful habitat that was protected for wildlife and plants,” said Hannah Walchak of the Escondido Creek Conservancy.

Walchak said the group was conducting a routine inspection of their property when the trail was discovered in December. Further inspection in January showed how much work was put into the illegal trail.

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Image courtesy of San Diego Union Tribune (Howard Lipin).

Conservancy removes illegal bike trail that marred wildlife preserve

April 20, 2018

On her routine inspection of properties in the Escondido Creek Conservancy earlier this year, Hannah Walchak spotted something new — an illegal, but carefully constructed mountain bike trail, snaking down the hillside on sensitive wildlife habitat.

Walchak, conservation land manager for the organization, investigated and found that the trail was freshly built, and formed a five-foot-wide scar more than a mile through the brushy hills. Someone who knew what they were doing had hacked the California lilac from the path, tossed it aside and moved rocks to create a smooth, steep surface for riding.

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Image courtesy of San Diego Union Tribune (Charlie Neuman).

Ambitious plan would restore Escondido Creek

December 8, 2016

A concrete channel that cuts through a large chunk of Escondido may get a makeover, as conservationists begin planning to restore Escondido Creek to its natural state.

The nonprofit Escondido Creek Conservancy is seeking $355,000 through a regional water grant to begin designing the restoration project — a first step toward transforming the urban culvert from a polluted canal to a picturesque waterway, officials said.

“We would love to see it be a much more natural channel, and a public amenity for the community..,” said Ann Van Leer, executive director of the conservancy.

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Escondido Creek Watershed

Mysterious willow die-off at Escondido Creek

November 26, 2016

A mysterious pest has damaged willows along the Escondido Creek Watershed, leaving conservation officials scrambling for answers to the die-off.

Officials with the Escondido Creek Conservancy originally feared the damage was caused by the shot hole borer beetle, which attacks 137 tree species including willows, oaks and sycamores.

Tests at UC Riverside came back negative for a fungus associated with the beetle, but didn’t reveal what could be threatening the watershed.

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