Protecting CNLM’s Manchester Preserve: Agency support

Protecting CNLM’s Manchester Preserve: Agency support

  |   CNLM News

Protecting the sensitive natural resources on CNLM’s preserves is an ongoing challenge. CNLM staff recently had an opportunity to benefit from even more support from wildlife agencies (US Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife) and City of Encinitas staff when they toured CNLM’s Manchester Preserve on November 17, 2022. Representatives from these governments, along with CNLM San Diego Preserve Managers and several senior CNLM management staff, were lead on a tour of this San Diego County Preserve by Preserve Manager, Brooke Prentice-Dekker. Acquired in 1998, CNLM has adaptively managed the Preserve for over two decades, responding to new challenges and changes in conditions.  The landscape of this 123-acre Preserve is composed of several vegetation types, the majority of which is coastal sage scrub and southern maritime chaparral and provides habitat for several listed species including the coastal California gnatcatcher, Orcutt’s hazardia, Del Mar manzanita, and San Diego thornmint.

The Preserve is host to the second largest population of the endangered San Diego thornmint (Acanthomintha ilicifolia) in northern coastal San Diego County, with five distinct extant occurrences on the Preserve. Due to its protected status, CNLM received permits, then carefully studied and made plans, to help secure the plant’s future on the Preserve by collecting seed and out-seeding in additional appropriate locations over the last several years. A highlight of the tour was a deep dive provided by Deborah L. Rogers, PhD, Co-Executive Director and Director of Conservation Science and Stewardship, into the first genetic study of this species with research conducted by CNLM and partners.

Some of the discussion during the tour focused on public access. The Preserve has a public trail system that is maintained by the City of Encinitas and requires significant effort by CNLM staff to keep people on authorized trails only and enforce the leashed dogs and no biking rules in order to protect the sensitive habitats and species. Collaboration with and support from the City of Encinitas is essential for CNLM to maintain public access on the Preserve. City trails staff help to maintain trails, reduce and prevent erosion, as well as provide or install signage for proper trail usage. The City also maintains the trash cans at the three main entrances of the Preserve, further reducing waste within the preserve itself.

During the tour, many Girl and Boy Scout projects were highlighted that have been a part of the Preserve since CNLM took over management. These include informational kiosk installations, invasive species removal, adding fencing and signage, and building a stairway that enables easier access to one of the entrances of the Preserve. Volunteers have also assisted with trail maintenance to reduce erosion—helping to protect the Preserve and provide a safer hiking experience for the visiting public.

The opportunity to discuss these topics with the entities responsible for the enforcement of protection measures and trail maintenance was beneficial. CNLM staff received valuable guidance and support from these discussions, enabling improved Preserve management efficacy. For further information about CNLM and details about the Manchester Preserve, please click here.