Rancho Del Oro

Area: l9 acres

Location: City of Oceanside, San Diego County, California

Date Acquired: 2010

Acquisition Type: CNLM holds a conservation easement as well as a long-term agreement to protect the imperiled species and their habitats on the preserve. The preserve is owned by third party.

Key Habitats: Coastal Sage Scrub and Valley Foothill Riparian

Species of Special Interest to CNLM: Coastal California gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica californica) and  Least Bell’s vireo (Vireo bellii pusillus)


The Rancho Del Oro Preserve was established in 2010 by the North County Transit District as mitigation for impacts to southern willow scrub and oak woodland resulting from the Sprinter Rail project. This 19-acre Preserve includes part of Loma Alta Creek in the City of Oceanside, California.

Conservation Significance

This Preserve is primarily comprised of southern willow scrub habitat, which supports the least Bell’s vireo (Vireo bellii pusillus)—a species that has been documented on the Preserve and surrounding area. The Preserve also contains coastal sage scrub habitat that supports the coastal California gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica californica). As part of its mitigation requirements, the North County Transit District was required to restore and enhance southern willow scrub, coastal sage scrub, and oak woodland. Soon after the conservation easement was transferred to CNLM, restoration was completed and CNLM commenced full management.

Our Work

CNLM holds a conservation easement over and manages the Rancho Del Oro Preserve. Our goal for this Preserve is to protect and enhance southern willow scrub woodland, coastal sage scrub, and oak woodland habitats. Routine management practices include removal of nonnative plant species, patrolling to prevent trespass and pick up trash, and conducting surveys for sensitive species. CNLM conducts annual surveys to detect the presence of coastal California gnatcatchers (Polioptila californica californica) and least Bell’s vireo (Vireo bellii pusillus). CNLM staff have also monitored wildlife movement through the Preserve because it lies along an east-west wildlife corridor to the Pacific Ocean. In 2013, CNLM staff initiated restoration of a degraded clay lens, which included installing an irrigation system and planting with native forbs, grasses, and sage scrub species.

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 Rancho Del Oro or Center for Natural Lands Management, please contact Stephen Rink, Preserve Manager at srink@cnlm.org or 760.731.7790 extension 212.