Buena Vista Creek Ecological Reserve

Area: Buena Vista Creek consists of 134 acres

Location: Buena Vista Creek Ecological Reserve is located south of State Route 78 between College Avenue and El Camino Real in the City of Carlsbad, California

Date Acquired: 2007

Acquisition Type: CNLM has management responsibilities to protect the habitats and imperiled species on the Buena Vista Creek Ecological Reserve

Key Habitats: Coastal Scrub, California Annual and Perennial Grassland, Valley Foothill Riparian

Species of Special Interest to CNLM: Coastal California gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica californica), Least Bell’s vireo (Vireo bellii pusillus) and Thread-leaved brodiaea (Brodiaea filifolia).


The Buena Vista Creek Ecological Reserve is owned by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), which set aside this property as the Buena Vista Creek Ecological Reserve in March, 2007. The Center for Natural Lands Management (CNLM) holds an endowment to manage this property for CDFW.  Success on the Reserve has been driven by effective partnerships with other non-governmental organizations, including Preserve Calavera and the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy’s Carlsbad Watershed Network.

Conservation Significance

This Reserve supports a number of habitat types, including southern riparian forest, coastal sage scrub, native and non-native grassland.  The Reserve contains fallow agricultural land that is largely being restored to functional habitat. The Reserve also supports sensitive plant and animal species, such as the coastal California gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica californica), least Bell’s vireo (Vireo bellii pusillus), and thread-leaved brodiaea (Brodiaea filifolia).

Our Work

Our primary goal is focused on habitat restoration and removing non-native plant species. Since the Preserve was established, thousands of non-native species have been removed. Additionally, six acres of fallow agricultural land have been restored to southern riparian forest, and an additional four acres of disturbed habitat are being restored to coastal sage scrub.

Other heavily disturbed portions of the Reserve are being slowly enhanced into functional habitat through mechanical and chemical weed removal, and seed addition. Acres of habitat once completely smothered in fennel (Foeniculum vulagare) are now grassland, and fennel is scarce in many of these locations.  The riparian corridor, once overrun with itinerants and a large assortment of perennial weeds, is now being enhanced using continuing weed removal and native forb and tree additions.

The vision for the Reserve is to maximize suitable habitat throughout all areas by continuing to expand enhancement and restoration efforts as other areas are improved.

Public Access

Due to the vulnerability of the species and habitats that exist on this Preserve, it is not open to the public.


 For information about Buena Vista Creek or Center for Natural Lands Management, please contact Brooke Prentice-Dekker, Preserve Manager at bdekker@cnlm.org or 760.731.7790 extension 221.