Wilson Creek

Wilson Creek

Area: 1,120 acres

Location: Unincorporated area of Aguanga, Riverside County, California

Date Acquired: 2000-2002

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, Chamise Redshank Chaparral and CA Annual and Desert Riparian.

Species of Special Interest to CNLM: Coastal California gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica californica), Quino checkerspot butterfly (Euphydryas editha quino) and Arroyo toad (Anaxyrus californicus).



2009_KK_WilsonCreekThe Wilson Creek Preserve was established by a private landowner as a mitigation bank between 2000 and 2002. This Preserve was created to compensate for incidental take of habitat supporting the federally threatened coastal California gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica californica) and the federally endangered Quino checkerspot butterfly (Euphydryas editha quino). Much of the property surrounding the Wilson Creek Preserve is open space owned and managed by various local and federal land management agencies. A short distance to the north, the Center for Natural Lands Management (CNLM) also manages the 1,120-acre Wilson Valley Preserve.

Conservation Significance

This Preserve is comprised of 890 acres of pristine coastal sage scrub habitat and includes a broad flood plain around Wilson Creek. There is an exceptionally diverse biological community, stemming from the transitional position of the Preserve between coast, mountains, and desert. An unusual variant of Riversidian sage scrub dominates the site, supporting desert species such as jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis), Mojave yucca (Yucca schidigera), hedgehog cactus (Echinocereus engalmanii), and more typical sage scrub species. Patches of chamise chaparral and redshank chaparral grow along the ridges, while cottonwood woodlands and southwestern willow scrub are found along Wilson Creek. Other sensitive species utilizing this habitat include cactus wren (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus), Bell’s sage sparrow (Amphispiza belli belli), and mountain lion (Puma concolor). Biological monitoring continues around the Preserve to document rare, threatened, and endangered species.

Our Work

Our primary management goal for the Wilson Creek Preserve is to maintain high-quality habitat to support viable populations of the coastal California gnatcatcher and Quino checkerspot butterfly. Riversidian sage scrub is the preferred habitat of these species; thus, a healthy sage scrub community must be maintained. Because the Preserve already supports and is surrounded by a healthy sage scrub community, much of our work involves monitoring the abundance of native species, controlling nonnative plants, and studying the unique ecology of this diverse habitat.

S014_2013_RedDiamond-tnPublic Access

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


For information and inquiries regarding Wilson Creek or Center for Natural Lands Management,  please contact Regional Preserve Manager, Kim Klementowski at  kklementowski@cnlm.org or 760.731.7790 extension 208.