San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy receives grant for continuation of work on Fairbanks Ranch Restoration Project

The San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy (SDRVC) has received a grant of $15,000 for a restoration project in Fairbanks Ranch called the “Fairbanks Ranch Invasive Plant Removal and Stream Enhancement within the San Dieguito River Valley.”

The funds, granted by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service through its Partners for Fish & Wildlife Program, will support the continuance of work on the restoration project that began in 2015 when residents of Fairbanks Ranch became concerned about the health of their watershed following the 2007 wildfires.

After the wildfires, the residents became aware of the flammability of the non-native vegetation and the need to get help to have it removed.

“We could not do this project without the support of the residents of Fairbanks Ranch and Rancho Santa Fe,” says Trish Boaz, SDRVC executive director. “The community and our partners — the California Native Plant Society and the Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District — came together to make this happen.”

In 2016, an additional effort took place to remove eucalyptus trees, arundo and other invasives from the project area using an American Conservation Experience (ACE) crew over four weeks in January and February of 2017.

Due to the success of the work conducted to date, several new owners signed onto the project and the work has expanded to 200 acres covering additional parcels in Fairbanks Ranch and Rancho Santa Fe.

With this grant, the Conservancy will be able to once again hire a 10-person crew from ACE to remove arundo, tamarisk, pampas grass, and other nonnatives from these new project areas. Work will be conducted over a two-week period in October.

To date, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services has awarded $55,300 for this project. The Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project granted $23,000 to this effort in 2016.

In addition, the SDRVC will conduct Citizen Science surveys across the project site as part of the SDRVC Monitoring Program to collect valuable data documenting the use of the area by birds and other wildlife before and after nonnative invasive removal efforts. This will be accomplished through multiple walking surveys and use of wildlife camera traps on the site. — Submitted press release