San Diego Management & Monitoring Program


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  • American Badger Movement Studies

    In fiscal year 2011-2012, the NCCP LAG program funded an initial study to determine if badgers persisted in the western portion of San Diego County (Brehme et al. 2012). Canine scent surveys were performed in grasslands within MSCP/Multiple Habitat Conservation Program (MHCP) boundaries and nearby areas. Because badgers do persist within the western portion of the county, they are believed to be a suitable species for assessing upland connectivity by means of radio-telemetry. In order to determine what areas to target badgers for future radiotelemetry studies, the objectives of this study were to identify target areas with potentially higher densities of badgers and to better assess the level of connectivity between known occupied areas. Plans also were to survey some high priority areas that were not available for investigation during the initial study. In addition, SANDAG funded; 1) an American badger expert, Richard Klafki, R.P. Bio, to consult in field sign and burrow surveys, the set up and use of hair snares, and share ideas regarding movement of badgers across the fragmented landscape, 2) deployment of hair snags and infrared cameras in areas where active badger sign was found, and 3) development of a microsatellite genetic assay for individual badgers will be developed by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and validated on known samples.

    • American Badger Connectivity Study

      The purpose of surveys in 2015 was to determine if badger use is irregular, seasonal, or consistent in areas where badgers have been documented in recent inventory and survey efforts and to examine whether badger activity is related to prey availability. USGS will regularly survey areas (every 3-4 weeks) where badgers were detected in 2012-14. Surveys will include on the ground searches for badger burrows and other sign, as well as the use of infrared cameras set up in known use areas to identif

    • Badger Connectivity Phase 2 - FundSource1

      In 2014, a follow up study was conducted to the initial 2011 rapid assessment for the American badger. The objectives were to identify target areas with potentially higher densities of badgers and to better assess the level of connectivity between known occupied areas. Thirty canine scent surveys for badger scat were conducted (15 funded under Natural Community Conservation Plan (NCCP) Local Assistance Grant (LAG) Grant P1282109 and 15 funded by San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG)) tha

    • Reserve Connectivity for Two Focal Species: Badger and California Gnatcacther

      The objective of this study was to identify badger locations in San Diego County using canine scent detection.

    • Wildlife connectivity studies in San Diego County: American badger - FundSource2

      In 2014, a follow up study was conducted to the initial 2011 rapid assessment for the American badger. The objectives were to identify target areas with potentially higher densities of badgers and to better assess the level of connectivity between known occupied areas. Thirty canine scent surveys for badger scat were conducted (15 funded under Natural Community Conservation Plan (NCCP) Local Assistance Grant (LAG) Grant P1282109 and 15 funded by San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG)) that included genetic testing of scat for species verification.

    • An Adaptive Management Approach to Recovering Burrowing Owl Populations and Restoring a Grassland Ecosystem in San Diego County

      San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research (ICR), in partnership with multiple agencies, has developed an adaptive conservation management program to assist in the recovery of Western Burrowing Owls (BUOW; Athene cunicularia hypugaea) and their grassland ecosystem in San Diego County. Main objectives include (1) establishing more natural grassland ecosystems in San Diego County by re-establishing ground squirrels that provide critical resources for BUOW and valuable ecosystem engineering effects; (2) better understanding of the factors regulating BUOW population dynamics; and (3) developing a comprehensive strategic management plan for BUOW in San Diego County.

  • Argentine Ants & Urban Runoff Studies

    • Artesian Creek

      Approximately 400 acres along Artesian Creek a tributary of the San Dieguito River. Coastal sage has been restored on this form ranch grazing land along with two miles of riparian habitat. Project location is between Camino Del Sur and Del Dios Highway just south of Lake Hodges. Project map is available at: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zTUwLgxqlu6s.ktsgCYrv-7Tw

    • Arthropod Ecosystem Functioning

      Assess how habitat and landscape characteristics impact ecosystem functioning.

  • ASMD/Adaptive Management

    • ASMD/Adaptive Management - FundSource1

      Preparation of ASMDs, conceptual models and working with preserve managers

    • ASMD/Adaptive Management - FundSource2

      Preparation of ASMDs, conceptual models and working with preserve mgrs. Task 1. Documentation of Current and Past Land Management Actions on NCCP Reserve Lands. Task 2. Implementation of Tricolored Blackbird Adaptive Management. Task 3. Development of Conceptual Approaches to Reserve Level Monitoring. Task 4: Independent Scientific Input. Task 5: Technical Assistance for Reserve Level Monitoring and Adaptive Management Action Design. Task 6: Summary of Activities and Final Report.

  • Bernardo Mountain Post-Fire Habitat Recovery

    The overall goal of the habitat enhancement project is to connect patches of native vegetation in order to function as a larger block of habitat and expand areas of high quality coastal sage scrub. The project consists of the restoration of an approximately 1-acre site that was chosen based upon its location next to an area where sensitive species have been documented, the existence of reemerging coastal sage scrub, close proximity to existing stands of healthy stands of native vegetation, need for erosion control, and reasonable access.

    • Bernardo Mountain Post-Fire Habitat Recovery Project

      Bernardo Mountain is located north of Lake Hodges, west of I-15. The primary goal of this habitat conservation project is to protect the habitat of the federally listed coastal California gnatcatcher, as well as other listed and sensitive animal species such as coastal cactus wren and sensitive plant and wildlife species that are covered under the Multiple Habitat Conservation Plan ("MHCP").

    • Blaineville's Horned Lizard Genetics Study

      The proposed study will provide data on whether coast horned lizard populations are genetically interconnected across the NCCP reserve system, or whether gene flow has occurred recently but is no longer possible due to habitat fragmentation.

    • Brachypodium Control - Phase I

      Control invasive grass, Brachypodium distachyon, in 4 locations by refining existing Brachypodium Best Management Practices, expanding treatment into new areas using proven BMPs, and developing new BMPs for landscape-level application.

    • Burrowing Owl Monitoring Analysis and Protocol

      The overall purpose of this study was to evaluate the methodology in the monitoring protocol described in Section II. The specific purpose of the analysis presented here is to use data collected according to the burrowing owl monitoring protocol to estimate occupancy for both burrowing owls and California ground squirrels within the sample frame.

    • Burrowing Owl Monitoring and Adaptive Management

      Apply treatment experiment to ground squirrel translocation plots and analyze data in conjunction with ICR monitoring of response variabes.

    • Burrowing Owl Monitoring and Adaptive Management

      Develop ground squirrel translocation protocol and monitor recruitment of ground squirrels in conjunction with IEMM data analysis.

  • Cactus Wren Genetic Analysis

    An analysis of the genetic population structure of the coastal cactus wren was conducted by the USGS. This project included three sub-projects: 1) Historical Museum Samples; 2) Regional Genetic Study; and 3) San Diego Genetic Study

  • Cactus Wren Habitat Conservation and Management Plan

    The Cactus Wren Habitat Conservation and Management Plan has been prepared to help fulfill MSP Goals and Objectives established for management of the Coastal Cactus Wren in MU3. This plan identifies and prioritizes management and restoration needs for the cactus wren across the entire MU3, and also assesses connectivity to core habitat areas on Conserved Lands within the San Diego/El Cajon cactus wren genetic cluster in MUs 2 and 4 to further ensure persistence of the cactus wren in MU3 over the next 100 years.

  • Cactus Wren Occupancy Study and Cactus Patch Mapping

    Given the extent and severity of the 2003 and 2007 wildfires in San Diego County there is an increase cause for concern in understanding the amount of available habitat and the percent of that habitat that is occupied by the coastal cactus wren. The USFWS has developed and refined a protocol for conducting coastal cactus wren monitoring. USFWS tested the protocol by completing surveys in 2009 and 2010. All southwest and southeast facing slopes below 1,500 feet, within San Diego MSCP preserve lands, were mapped for the occurrence of cactus patches. Once cactus patches were mapped in GIS, these patches were segmented into plots and surveyed for cactus wrens.

  • California Gnatcatcher Genetic Study

    • California Gnatcatcher Genetic Study - FundSource1

      We examined individual relatedness patterns and population genetic structure among gnatcatcher aggregations throughout coastal southern California from Ventura to San Diego Counties. To accomplish this goal, we developed a set of highly polymorphic microsatellite loci and sampled 268 individuals throughout the range. With genetic analyses we addressed the following questions:1) How many genetically distinguishable populations exist across the U.S. species range?2) Is genetic relatedness among individuals explained by the amount and distribution of suitable habitat?3) What is the range of dispersal distances between presumptive siblings and parents/offspring?4) What are the patterns of genetic diversity within aggregations across the U.S. range and what is the effective population size?5) How do these results impact future management and monitoring efforts aimed at species recovery?

    • California Gnatcatcher Genetic Study -FundSource2

      We examined individual relatedness patterns and population genetic structure among gnatcatcher aggregations throughout coastal southern California from Ventura to San Diego Counties. To accomplish this goal, we developed a set of highly polymorphic microsatellite loci and sampled 268 individuals throughout the range. With genetic analyses we addressed the following questions:1) How many genetically distinguishable populations exist across the U.S. species range?2) Is genetic relatedness among individuals explained by the amount and distribution of suitable habitat?3) What is the range of dispersal distances between presumptive siblings and parents/offspring?4) What are the patterns of genetic diversity within aggregations across the U.S. range and what is the effective population size?5) How do these results impact future management and monitoring efforts aimed at species recovery?

    • California Gnatcatcher Occupancy Study

      California gnatcatcher occupancy study across San Diego County.

    • California Gnatcatcher South Coast Regional Monitoring Program

      The USGS, USFWS, SDMMP, and the Nature Reserve of Orange County have joined together to develop a long-term coordinated regional monitoring program for the federally-threatened Coastal California Gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica californica) in the United States portion of the species range. Other participants include CDFW, The Nature Conservancy, Western Riverside RCA, Rancho Mission Viejo Conservancy, Naval Weapons Station Fallbrook, Marine Corp Base Camp Pendleton, Marine Corp Air Station Miramar. The goals of this program are to: 1) determine the population status of California Gnatcatchers in southern California on conserved and military lands; 2) track trends in California Gnatcatcher habitat occupancy over time in southern California to identify when thresholds have been met that trigger management actions; and 3) identify habitat attributes and threats associated with gnatcatcher occupancy in order to develop specific habitat-based management criteria and recommendations. To date, there have been no systematic surveys for this species across southern California. Surveys have been conducted periodically in portions of the gnatcatcher's range, particularly on conserved and military lands. However, these surveys have been conducted in different years and with a variety of methods providing different population metrics and as a result do not provide a region-wide estimate. In addition, during the last 15 years, there have been extremely large wildfires in southern California across a substantial portion of suitable habitat for gnatcatchers and there is little information on their status in these burned areas. The first regional Coastal California Gnatcatcher survey is scheduled for 2016. This survey is planned for conserved lands and those military lands in southern California that choose to participate. The objectives of the regional monitoring program are: 1. In 2016, determine the percent area occupied (PAO) by California Gnatcatchers in modeled high and very high suitability habitat on conserved lands and on participating military lands in southern California. 2. Over the next 15 years, determine long-term trends in California Gnatcatcher PAO and in their colonization and extinction rates in modeled high and very high suitability habitat on conserved lands and participating military lands in southern California and be able to detect at least 30% change in California Gnatcatcher PAO. 3. Beginning in 2016, identify associations between habitat and threat correlates with California Gnatcatcher PAO and with colonization and extinction rates in order to develop biologically meaningful thresholds for management and to specify management criteria and recommendations.

    • California Plant Rescue (CaPR) - San Diego Zoo Global's Native Plant Seed Bank

      San Diego Zoo Global's Native Plant Seed Bank - Center for Plant Conservation (CPC). Coordinated by the CPC, California Plant Rescue (CaPR) is a collaboration among many of the botanical gardens, seed banks, and botanical organizations in California to conserve the rarest and most threatened plant species throughout the state and northwestern Baja California. The purpose of CaPR is the long-term conservation of wild populations of these species through seed banking and fieldwork. The Native Plant Seed Bank has been working hard to make this possible by focusing on the rarest plant populations in San Diego County. This includes obtaining land manager permission, the locating of rare plant populations, monitoring population numbers and reproductive cycles and making a very responsible seed collection. The goal is to conserve the genetic diversity of the rarest populations in the county through the long term storage of these seed collections.

    • Carlsbad Wildlife Movement Analysis

      An inventory of potential wildlife movement corridors and pinchpoints within the City of Carlsbad.

  • Central City Preserve Cactus Wren Habitat Restoration and Enhancement Program

    Project Goals and Habitat Restoration Methods (1) Increase coast cholla patch sizes and density within portions of the Central City Preserve to benefit populations of coastal cactus wrens. (2) Restore and enhance patches of coast cholla in a distribution pattern that facilitates dispersal of cactus wrens between areas of suitable habitat within PMA 1. (3) Proactive reduction of native and non-native fuels in the immediate vicinity of nesting sized coast cholla patches to decrease the risk of catastrophic fires that could eliminate wren habitat. (4) Restore habitat for coastal cactus wrens and other covered species, including coastal California gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica californica) and Belding’s orange-throated whiptail (Aspidoscelis hyperythra beldingi), in areas currently dominated by weeds. (5) Restore and enhance coastal cactus wren habitat through the selective thinning and removal of lemonadeberry, other native shrubs, and exotic annuals that are directly competing with coast cholla to the detriment of cactus wren populations.

    • Chula Vista Cactus Wren Habitat Restoration and Enhancement Program

      A 5-year restoration/enhancement project designed to maintain and increase suitable habitat for the cactus wren in the City of Chula Vista's Central City Preserve. The goal of this program is to ensure the prolongation of the coastal cactus wren through active management of suitable cactus wren habitat, restore degraded and/or fragmented cholla patches, and initiate activities to reduce edge effects associated with invasive species, uncontrolled access and risk of fire.

    • Salt Creek Coastal Cactus Wren Habitat Restoration Project

      The goal of the project was to enhance, restore, expand, and monitor coastal cactus wren habitat in the Salt Creek area. In 2008, County of San Diego County Department of Parks and Recreation planted 7,000 to 10,000 cactus cuttings toenhance and improve existing coastal cactus wrenhabitat on 1.4 acres within the Otay Ranch Preserve inthe Salt Creek area. The area is jointly managed by theCounty and City of Chula Vista. Monitoring of birds and vegetation was conducted.

  • Coastal Cactus Wren Monitoring in MUs 3 and 4

    A monitoring plan for coastal cactus wren monitoring in MUs 3 and 4 covering the years from 2015 through 2019 has been developed. The two goals are: 1. To assess population status following the 2014 drought. 2. Monitor execution of the Implementation Plan's highest priority management actions (MSP, Vol. 2, Table 2-2.9 (llP, J EX)). This includes determining the relationships between specific elements of habitat quality, food availability, and cactus wren productivity and survival and using this knowledge to refine ASMDs to increase population abundance and resilience. Specific objectives are included in the MSP.

    • Cactus Wren Monitoring in MU's 3&4 & Fecal Analysis

      This is a planned 5-year study. In the first year the population status of cactus wren in MU's 3 & 4 was assessed to determine the relationship between habitat quality, food availability, and cactus wren productivity and survival.

  • Enforcement (CDFW)

    • Enforcement (CDFW)

      Implement enforcement action against unauthorized human use on preserves.

    • Enforcement (CDFW)

      Implement enforcement action against unauthorized human use on preserves.

    • Enforcement (CDFW)

      Implement enforcement action against unauthorized human use on preserves.

  • Enforcement (County Sheriff)

    • Enforcement (County Sheriff)

      This project will primarily focus on increasing law enforcement patrols in open space areas for illegal activity to control damage to property and the environment as identified by land managers.

    • Enforcement (County Sheriff)

      This scope of work will primarily focus on increasing law enforcement patrols in open space areas for illegal activity to control damage to property and the environment. Implement enforcement action against unauthorized human use on preserves.

    • Feral Pig Eradication in San Diego County

      The purpose for the project is to eliminate or reduce impacts of feral pigs on the natural resources in San Diego County.

    • Feral Pig Removal Program Monitoring

      This is an ongoing project established to support the feral pig removal effort in San Diego County established and funded by land management agencies that have been participating in the Intergovernmental Feral Pig Project. This is an independent monitoring project intended to complement and inform the USDA Wildlife Services-led removal project. The objectives of the project are to monitor feral pigs and their movements through use of telemetry, remote cameras, and collecting field data pre-, during, and post-removal actions to inform efficient and effective removal efforts. The project is also working to coordinate with the Feral Pig Intergovernmental Working Group and provide results of the monitoring efforts on a quarterly basis.

    • Fire Workshop

      This task involves organzing and hosting a Wildland Fire Workshop focused on Southern California and landscape level fires occurring in the last decade.

    • Framework Resource Management Plans

      Develop 2 to 3 Framework Management Plans. Task 1. South Western Otay Mesa Preserve Management Plan. Task 2. South Crest Preservce Complex Management Plan. Task 3. Preserve Area 3 (Optional Task).

    • Genetics Workshop

      The purpose of this workshop was to review current genetic techniques and how they can be applied to monitoring and management needs for rare and endangered species, ecological communities and the broader landscape.

  • Golden Eagle Studies - San Diego County

    This is a planned 5-Year Study - The objectives of this study are 1. Establish a site-occupancy monitoring program to assess the potential effects of human land use on occupancy dynamics and nesting success of golden eagles. 2. Use GPS biotelemetry data to develop models for golden eagle movement behavior and resource use in three spatial dimensions. 3. Collect genetic samples and analyze genetic differentiation and diversity of golden eagles in San Diego County relative to other sampled regions of western North America.

    • Habitat Restoration and Invasive Control in Carlsbad HU

      Treated 24.84 ac of invasives, reduced associated biomass, retreated 34.5 acres of invasives, installed, watered, maintained 450 native plants.

    • Harbison's Dun Skipper Implementation Plan

      Using existing data, develop a habitat model, and prepare an implementation plan for the management and monitoring of Harbison's Dun Skipper.

    • Hermes Copper Implementation Habitat Conservation and Management Plan

      This plan identifies and prioritizes management and restoration needs over the next five years (2017-2021) for the Hermes copper across the entire United States range. It is intended that implementation of high priority management actions in this plan will help to achieve the MSP Roadmap goal for Hermes copper to: “protect, enhance, and restore Hermes copper occupied habitat and historically occupied habitat and the landscape connections between them to create resilient, self-sustaining populations that provide for persistence over the long term (>100 years)”.

  • Hermes Copper Management and Monitoring

    • Hermes Copper Adult Surveys 2016

      In 2016, we conducted butterfly surveys and habitat assessments at these small northern populations. We did not detect Hermes copper adults at any of the eight sites, although this was consistent with other (larger) sites in the county due to continuing drought conditions. Habitat assessments resulted in the mapping of 65 spiny redberry patches and 11 single redberry shrubs across the 8 sites. Up to 90 redberry shrubs were recorded in a single patch, but more patches were represented by a relatively low number of shrubs, and most of the redberry patches had at least 60% shrub cover. Additional insight may be gained from a more formal comparison to the habitat measured at Hermes copper sites in southern San Diego County.

    • Hermes Copper Management Studies on Conserved Lands in San Diego County

      This study builds on the previous 2-year study on Hermes Copper. In 2012 the project shifted to resolving critical uncertainties about the species biology, while also evaluating population size trends at several large. The focus for 2014-2015 remained on resolving these uncertainties, primarily regarding immature stages.

    • Rare Butterfly Management Studies- Transloaction 2016

      Our research has documented several extirpations due to the 2003 and 2007 wildfires, but few recolonizations despite what appears to be suitable habitat. Although a few small populations exist within and north of the city of San Diego, the majority of Hermes copper individuals are found to the east and southeast of the city between the footprints of 2003 and 2007 fires. Due to the extremely restricted distribution, the species is highly vulnerable since one large fire could push the species to the brink of extinction. Recolonization into post-wildfire habitats is essential for the long-term persistence of Hermes copper; however, it appears that habitat fragmentation is limiting dispersal and preventing recolonizations from occurring. For these reasons, we initiated a project to evaluate translocation as a management tool for establishing self-sustaining Hermes copper populations. If successful, this could be a potential management tool to mitigate the impacts of wildfire. We translocated Hermes copper from larger populations to an area that was occupied by Hermes copper prior to a recent (2007) wildfire. In addition, key members of the vegetation community, including spiny redberry and California buckwheat shrubs were still present after the fire. The success of translocation of adults and eggs was assessed separately.

    • Two-Year Evaluation of Hermes Copper (Lycaena hermes) - Year 1

      This was Year 1 of a 2 Year project. This project was conducted to address the growing concerns about the status of Hermes copper. Year 1 included: Task A: GIS Analysis. Task B: Landscape Genetics. Task C: Vegetation Survey. Task D: Hermes Copper Field Survey. Task E: Data Analysis.

    • Two-Year Evaluation of Hermes Copper (Lycaena hermes) - Year 2

      This was Year 2 of a 2 Year project. This second year of the project was organized around three individual tasks. Task 1: Field Surveys. Task 2: Landscape Genetics. Task 3: Data Analysis and Synthesis.

  • Linkage Evaluation Studies

    • MSPA Linkage Evaluation Study - Part 1, South County

      In support of the Connectivity Monitoring Strategic Plan (CMSP), the USGS conducted a preliminary assessment of the potential linkages between the core conserved wildlife areas within the MSCP area of San Diego County. Of the 16 linkages identified in the CMSP, nine linkages were evaluated in Part 1 of the study.

    • MSPA Linkage Evaluation Study - Part 2, North County

      In support of the Connectivity Monitoring Strategic Plan (CMSP), the USGS conducted a preliminary assessment of the potential linkages between the core conserved wildlife areas within the MSCP area of San Diego County. Of the 16 linkages identified in the CMSP, nine linkages were evaluated in Part 1 of the study. Part 2 of the study is an evaluation of the 7 remaining linkages.

    • MSPA Linkage Evaluation Study - San Pasqual Camera Monitoring

      This study is a followup to the two prior MSCP linkage evaluation studies conducted by USGS between 2011 and 2014. The USGS conducted a camera monitoring study in the San Pasqual Valley and under the Lake Hodges/I-15 bridge. There were two tasks as part of this study: 1. Underpass monitoring protocol optimization; 2. Linkage evaluation and camera monitoring.

  • Mountain Lion Connectivity Studies

    • Mountain Lion Connectivity Study

      A question the study addresses is: where are mountain lion movement corridors in west central San Diego County? Task 1 - Determine the locations within the study area for baiting and potential trapping. Task 2 - Place bait, trap, and GPS-collar captured mountain lions. Task 3 - Download data from GPS collars. Task 4 - Data Entry and Quality Control.

    • Mountain Lion Connectivity Study North San Diego County - FundSource2

      The purpose of this study is to provide the data needed regarding which lands in north San Diego County are likely utilized by mountain lions, and to assess connectivity within and between current and proposed future conserved lands in MSP Management Units (MU) 5, 6 and 8 and conserved and unconserved mountain lion habitat in adjacent Riverside, and Orange Counties. The results from this study of mountain lion movement, habitat use, gene flow, and highway crossings will be available to inform critical decisions regarding the prioritization of lands for conservation and the potential need and location of highway modifications to enhance connectivity for mountain lions and other wildlife.

    • MSCP Wildlife Corridor Monitoring

      A CBI study evaluating several MSCP habitat linkages and corridors critical to regional wildlife movement in the MSCP preserve. The study evaluated the functionality of the linkages, the large mammals and mesopredators using the linkages, constraints to animal movement, and underpass function.

    • Non-Invasive Genetic Sampling to Determine Movement of Southern Mule Deer

      The goal of this project was to primarily assess east-west connectivity across Route 67 and secondarily, north-south connectivity across Scripps Poway Parkway and Poway Road, two highly trafficked roads to the west of Route 67.The Southern Mule Deer is a mobile but non-migratory large mammal found throughout southern California and is a covered species in the San Diego Multi-Species Conservation Plan. USGS researchers assessed deer movement and population connectivity across California State Route 67 and two smaller roads in eastern San Diego County using non-invasive genetic sampling. They collected deer scat pellets between April and November 2015, and genotyped pellets at 15 microsatellites and a sex determination marker. They successfully genotyped 71 unique individuals from throughout the study area and detected nine recapture events. Recaptures were generally found close to original capture locations (within 1.5 km). They did not detect recaptures across roads; however, pedigree analysis detected 21 first order relative pairs, of which approximately 20% were found across State Route 67. Exact tests comparing allele frequencies between groups of individuals in pre-defined geographic clusters detected significant genetic differentiation across State Route 67. In contrast, the assignment-based algorithm of STRUCTURE supported a single genetic cluster across the study area. Their data suggest that State Route 67 may reduce, but does not preclude, movement and gene flow of Southern Mule Deer.

    • Nonnative Species Removal for Southwestern Pond Turtles in Southerm San Diego

      Assessment of pond draining as a strategy for nonnatives removal at Rancho Jamul ER; 2. Removal of non-natives, maintenance and monitoring of the Sycuan Peak ER.

  • Orcutt's Spineflower Enhancement

    • Population Genetic Analysis of 6 Rare Plant Species in San Diego County

      The first phase (years 1-2) of this research task will focus on genetic and cytological screening to determine potential ploidy and population genetic differences among occurrences within species. Upon completion, we will convene an expert panel to review results of the genetic studies and then develop specific recommendations for each species relative to the MSP management objectives planned for that species. These recommendations may include designing appropriate common garden or reciprocal transplant studies to determine the fitness consequences of using seed from different populations to increase population size or establish new occurrences. The recommendations will also address MSP objectives involving seed banking and seed bulking needs for each species. The expert panel will also make recommendations on genetic management of populations, including whether genetic connectivity needs to be enhanced or restored to maintain or increase genetic diversity. Recommended and approved studies will be added in the second phase (beginning in year 3). The following questions will be specifically addressed in phase 1: 1. What is the status of documented occurrences? 2. Is there evidence of mixed ploidy levels among or within occurrences? 3. What is current genetic structure among and within occurrences in the MSPA? How vulnerable are the occurrences to genetic drift & loss of genetic diversity and is there gene flow between occurrences? 4. Are there signatures of genetic bottlenecks or lower genetic diversity in populations that have undergone recent reductions due to fire, drought, or other causes, or evidence of local adaptation? 5. Based on the cytological and genetic analysis, what are the recommendations for common garden and reciprocal transplantations, for collecting, bulking and distributing seeds for enhancing existing occurrences, and for establishing new occurrences?

  • Post-Fire Monitoring

    • Post-Fire Monitoring - Arroyo Toad Surveys

      The arroyo toad surveys in southern San Diego County are part of an investigation of the impacts of fire on arroyo toads. In 2007, the Witch, Harris and Poomacha fires burned approximately 300,000 acres of wildlands in San Diego County. Many of the burned lands are currently conserved or are planned to be conserved under the San Diego County Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP). Riparian areas across four major watersheds were extensively burned during these 2007 fires, many of these streams support arroyo toad populations. The USGS (coordinating with the San Diego Association of Governments, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, City of San Diego, and County of San Diego) is investigating how specific target species will respond to these massive fires and resultant changes in stream morphology, vegetation communities, and vegetation structure over a five-year time period. The goal of this study is to provide information that will allow future land management decisions to include considerations of the effects of large wildfires on the biological community structure and function, especially for those species covered by conservation plans such as the San Diego County MSCP.

  • Post-Fire Monitoring - Riparian Bird Richness, Abundance, and Diversity

    • Monitoring and Documentation of Post-Fire Recovery of Riparian Bird Community

      This was Year 1 of a 2-year study on the effects of fire on the riparian bird community in San Diego County. Tasks included documenting the effects of the 2007 fires on endangered birds, in particularly, the Least Bell's Vireo, and monitoring post-fire recovery of the entire riparian breeding bird community.

    • Riparian Bird Surveys

      This was Year 2 of a 2-year study on the effects of fire on the riparian bird community in San Diego County. Tasks included documenting the effects of the 2007 fires on endangered birds, in particularly, the Least Bell's Vireo, and monitoring post-fire recovery of the entire riparian breeding bird community.

    • Quino Checkerspot Implementation Plan

      Using existing data, prepare an implementation plan for the management and monitoring of Quino checkerspot.

    • Quino Herbicide Study

      This project was designed to test for any effects of the commercially available taxon-specific herbicides Fusilade II?, Transline? and application surfactant on Quino checkerspot butterfly larval development, survival, and pupal weights. The experimental design tested for direct and indirect effects on the proportion of larvae that pupate as well as the weights of the pupa. Part of this project was completed as Task 2 under LAG agreement #P0982020 in place of Triolored blackbird task.

    • Ramona Grassland Raptor Monitoring

      Monitor raptor use and foraging behavior within the Ramona Grasslands.

    • Rapid Assessment Protocols

      USGS will conduct a survey protocol design optimization using existing datasets. Species accumulation curves will be produced and used to inform the necessary number of surveys (or survey days) required to document the presence of most species. The USGS will also analyze detection rates and/or detection probabilities of prioritized target species, both native and non-native, to inform the necessary number of surveys required for rapid assessment.

  • Rare Bat Monitoring

    Pallid bat (Antrozous pallidus) and Townsend's big-eared bat (Corynorhinus townsendiil) have both been proposed as protected species in the North County Multiple Species Conservation Plan and are included in the MSP. These two species are believed to be at high to moderate risk of loss in the MSP area because of their low numbers and sensitivity to human disturbance. However, their population status, locations of roosts (diurnal, nocturnal. and maternity), primary foraging areas, water sources used, threats and connectivity between populations in the MSP area are largely unknown. The lack of information makes it difficult to implement appropriate management actions to conserve their habitats. The MSP identifies this work as a priority for implementation starting in 2016 (MSP, Vol 2, pallid bat: P. 2-104-112 and Townsend's big-eared bat: P. 2-168-177). In 2016, the SDNHM under contract to USGS will continue to survey areas with known pallid and Townsend's big-eared bat occurrences in MUs 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8 as identified in the MSP and in other high potential sites based on previous survey work by USGS and the SDNHM, including areas in North County and potentially areas adjacent to the MSP. Other areas inside and outside the MSP will be determined in coordination with SANDAG and the SDMMP. A variety of methods will be used (roost surveys, mist-netting, acoustic surveys, etc.) to identify and map the primary roosts and foraging areas used by pallid bat (MSP, Vol. 2. Table 2-1 .34, RS objective) and Townsend's big-eared bat (MSP, Vol. 2, Table 2-2.1 1, RS objective). Roost surveys will document diurnal, nocturnal and maternity roosts. Bat use will be evaluated and environmental covariate data collected, including a threat assessment. Recommendations will be developed for any needed management actions at each roost site. Surveys will identify primary foraging and water source areas used by pallid and Townsend's big-eared bats. Environmental covariate data will be collected at foraging and water source sites, including an assessment of habitat quality. Management measures will be developed to maintain or improve foraging habitat and water sources. Tissue samples will be collected for use in determining genetic connectivity between populations. Mist netting will document age class, gender ratio, reproductive condition, recruitment weight, ecotoparasite load, and overall condition in areas where bats are captured. All species of bats captured in nets will be documented. The information collected in this study will be used to develop an Implementation Plan in 2017 that prioritizes management actions to protect roosts from disturbance and ensures sufficient roosts for seasonal temperature requirements and for reproduction. And enhances foraging habitat in MUs 3, 4, 5, and 6 (MSP, Vol. 2. Tables 2-1.34 and 2-2 .11. PIP objective).

    • Bat Management in San Diego County

      This is a planned 2-year Study. In 2015 and 2016, the SDNHM, under contract to USGS, will survey areas with known pallid and Townsend's big-eared bat occurrences in MUs 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8 as identified in the MSP and in other high potential sites based on previous survey work by USGS and the SDNHM, including areas in North County and potentially areas adjacent to the MSP.

    • Rare Butterfly Management and Conservation Planning- 2016 Harbison's Dun Skipper Flight Season Surveys

      This project is Task #7 of SANDAG contract number 5004388: Rare Butterfly Management and Conservation Planning. A summary of this task is provided below. Surveys for Harbison’s dun skipper adults were conducted to assess year to year variation in population size. Field visits were used to document use including plants used for nectar sources, as well as obtain non-lethal genetic samples. A rapid habitat assessment was conducted at each site which included general woodland tree species composition, condition of San Diego sedge plants, and recording potential threats to the Harbison’s dun skipper.

  • Rare Plant IMG Monitoring

    • Rare Plant Inspect and Manage Monitoring 2014-2018

      From 2014-2021, a Management and Monitoring Strategic Plan (MSP Roadmap) monitoring objective for 30 rare plant species is to inspect occurrences to determine management needs. The inspect and manage (IMG) objective is implemented to document the status of rare plant occurrences and assess habitats and threats to develop specific management recommendations. IMG monitoring is implemented by a combination of land managers and contracted biologists in coordination with the SDMMP. Rare plant monitoring data from 2014-2016 are posted below and available for use by land managers and scientists. Based upon an evaluation of these data, a 2017-2021 monitoring schedule has been developed for the 30 rare plant species (see Rare Plant 2017-2021 IMG Monitoring Schedule). In 2017, a top priority is to monitor the majority of rare plant occurrences for 17 species (see List of Rare Plant Species with 2017 IMG Obj) on Conserved Lands to identify management needs and prioritize regional funding for management. Coordinating data collection across the region allows analyses of species and population trends over time and provides a better understanding of the association between habitat and threat covariates and population dynamics. For an interactive map with 2014-2016 results, go to: http://arcg.is/2lTir9R

    • Rare Plant Management based on IMG Monitoring

      Implement land management based on IMG rare plant monitoring. These projetcs will include those funded by TransNet grants and other fund sources.

  • Recreation and Wildlife Studies

    • Recreation and Wildlife Study - Phase II

      Implement a well designed study that integrates species monitoring with recreation monitoring to systematically assess recreation?s direct and indirect effects on sensitive wildlife species, to improve the understanding of the trade-offs inherent in multiple-use management of reserves, and to ensure that NCCP reserves are providing the required levels of protection and achieving the goals of the NCCP program.

    • Wildlife Response to Human Recreation on NCCP Reserves in San Diego County - Phase I

      Adaptive land protection and management strategies are fundamental to accomplishing the stated species and habitat conservation goals of federal Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and California Natural Community Conservation Plan (NCCP) efforts. In San Diego County, the current NCCP reserve system includes more than 200,000 acres of protected lands, which are monitored and managed by multiple jurisdictions. The Wildlife Agencies (FWS and DFW, collectively), environmental groups, and reserve managers would like an improved understanding of how various threats and stressors may be affecting reserve performance for the benefit of 103 plant and animal species. The intent of this applied research project was to complement the existing species and habitat monitoring efforts in San Diego County by developing a program to assess the possible effects of human recreation on wildlife populations. Specific objectives were to: (1) Develop recommendations for a research for studying the effects of recreation on wildlife species; and (2) Test methods for monitoring recreation and complete a pilot field study.

    • Salt Creek Canyon

      Restore and enhance degraded habitat for the Coastal Cactus Wren within the Salt Creek Canyon of the Otay Ranch Reserve. Conduct invasive species control, propagate cacti, and monitor Coastal Cactus Wren.

  • San Diego Fairy Shrimp Genetics Studies

    • San Diego Thornmint Genetic Analysis

      Conduct genetic analysis of San Diego thornmint and also common garden experiements. Task 1: Population descriptions and leaf collections. Task 2: Seed collection and first genetic study ? local adaptation. Task 3: Rangewide ploidy and isozyme analysis). Task 4: Reports.

    • San Diego Tracking Team Transect data verification

      The San Diego Tracking Team is undertaking systematic data verification/review by deploying trail cameras at survey locations (placement to be determined by the transect leader) for one year (or two opposite seasons) per survey location, in rotation and/or as cameras become available. Feedback will be used to modify protocol where appropriate but primarily as a supplemental data source.

    • San Dieguito Citizen Science Monitoring Program

      The San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy (SDRVC) developed the San Dieguito Citizen Science Monitoring Program as a sustainable, cost-effective, and scientifically valid approach to gather critical data on lands within the San Dieguito River Park Focused Planning Area. This program seeks to fill knowledge gaps on the diversity, population, movements and spatial ecology of species within the watershed to better inform future land acquisitions, adaptive land management, habitat and species restoration, educational initiatives and future research. One of the main objectives of this program is to gather data that is consistent and shared with other regional planning efforts being coordinated by the San Diego Management & Monitoring Program. Data collected is submitted to regional databases and will help meet the management goals and objectives identified in the Management & Monitoring Strategic Plan. Annual expert-led surveys are carried out by volunteer citizen scientists following approved protocols and encourage community involvement and engagement.

  • San Pasqual Habitat Restoration and Cactus Nursery Project

    The goal of this project is to develop and begin implementing a subwatershed-level management plan to restore and manage native habitat to support a stable, resilient Coastal Cactus Wren population in the San Pasqual Valley/Lake Hodges region of the San Dieguito Watershed. This subwatershed is one of the most biologically significant areas in S. California for CACW and requires immediate attention. This project includes the primary landowners and managers in the area to identify, prioritize, and implement habitat management within the subwatershed context to ensure quality habitat and healthy CACW populations. This will be done by evaluating CACW habitat quality, distribution, size, and connectivity, as well as mapping known locations of CACW pairs. Based on this information, key sites are identified to target management and restoration to maximize effectiveness both ecologically and economically. Of particular interest is increased connectivity of habitat patches to provide support for CACW movement, dispersal and colonization throughout the subwatershed. To do this, the goal will be to enhance and restore habitat based landscape priorities and utilize best restoration techniques to ensure successful restoration.

    • San Pasqual Habitat Restoration and Cactus Nursery Project

      Provide habitat connectivity between Lake Hodges and the Safari Park for cactus wren expansion and establish a cactus nursery in North County for habitat restoration for cactus wren. This is an on-going project that has multiple funding sources.

    • San Pasqual Valley River Restoration

      Herbicidal treatment of both the Arundo and the tree tobacco.

    • Small Vertebrate Underpass Study

      In 2012, the small animal connectivity study began as part of Connectivity Monitoring Strategic Plan (CMSP) developed by the San Diego Monitoring and Management Program (SDMMP). There were three main objectives in this study. First, to determine which groups of small vertebrates are currently using or avoiding these wildlife underpasses and understand how these behaviors may be predicted by life history characteristics. Secondly, to investigate the effectiveness of adding cover structures to underpasses as a way to enhance small vertebrate use of underpasses. Third, to evaluate the extent to which larger vertebrates often used as focus species in connectivity studies in the region act as indicators of use by small vertebrate species.

    • South County Grassland Project - Part 1

      Develop BMPs for restoring native grassland and forbland habitat for Otay tarplant and Quino checkerspot.

    • South County Grassland Project - Part 2

      Develop BMPs for restoring native grassland and forbland habitat for Otay tarplant and Quino checkerspot.

    • Southern Mule Deer Genetic Study - LAG funded

      Southern mule deer connectivity study in the MSCP using DNA fingerprinting. The goals of this study were to: 1. Improve the laboratory methods to include more markers. 2. Genetically analyze both old and new mule deer samples with the full set of genetic markers. 3. Make management recommendations based on population genetic analyses, including how future changes in connectivity might be detected.

  • Southwestern Pond Turtle Recovery Project

    The goal of this project are to release and telemetry of head-started SW pond turtles at Sycuan Pesk ER and conduct an upper watershed assessment for translocation of SW pond turtle in the Otay and San Diego Watersheds. This project includes assessment of overall suitability of translocation sites including habitat as well as necessary land manager coordination, permitting and fees. Also included is the prioritization of donor sites and addresses permitting requirements for harvest of southwestern pond turtles for the translocation. New genetic material collected after the initial analysis (particularly from MUs 4,5,6, and 8) will be processed and analyzed.

    • Southwestern Pond Turtle Re-establishment

      This project includes assessment of overall suitability of translocation sites including habitat as well as necessary land manager coordination, permitting and fees. Also included is the prioritization of donor sites and addresses permitting requirements for harvest of southwestern pond turtles for the translocation. New genetic material collected after the initial analysis (particularly from MUs 4,5,6, and 8) will be processed and analyzed.

    • Southwestern Pond Turtle Re-establishment

      Release and telemetry of head-started SW pond turtles at Sycuan Peak ER 2. Upper watershed assessment for translocation of SW pond turtle in the Otay, San Diego, and Tijuana River Watersheds

    • Southwestern Pond Turtle reintroduction monitoring in Southern San Diego

      1. Release and radio telemetry of headstarted SW pond turtles at Sycuan Peak ER; 2. Population Assessment of SW pond turtle at Pine Valley Creek; 3. Release and radio telemetry of pond turtles at rancho Jamul ER.

  • Southwestern Willow Flycatcher surveys

    • Southwestern Willow Flycatcher Status and Demography

      This is a planned 5-Year study. USGS will conduct a 2-phased investigation to document the abundance and distribution of flycatchers in San Diego County, and to collect demographic data that will permit an assessment of the San Luis Rey River population within the larger contexts of MSPA and the state.

    • SR 94 Wildlife Infrastructure Plan

      The purpose of this project is to, (1) identify where improvements to existing infrastructure on SR-94 could improve connectivity across the South County preserves, using Best Management Practices from the scientific literature, (2) recommend wildlife movement monitoring to identify where new crossings are needed, and (3) identify where additional conservation would enhance the integrity of South County linkages.

    • SR-67 Multi-species Connectivity Planning

      A comprehensive multi-species analysis of connectivity for the area surrounding SR-67 in central San Diego County. Multiple modeling approaches are being applied to develop a wildlife crossing infrastructure plan for SR-67 and to design landscape linkages at the subregional level. This analysis directly address functional connectivity within the study area.

  • Thorne's Hairstreak Monitoring

    The three primary objectives were (1) to document the extent of Thorne’s hairstreak (TH) presence within the study area of Otay Mountain; (2) to characterize habitat association within that geographic range; and (3) to conduct larval experiments addressing the importance of tree age on the physiological performance of caterpillars. With reference to objective 1, it was found that the distribution of TH on Otay Mountain was more extensive than previous reports had suggested. Also examined was TH presence in the interior versus perimeter versus exterior of host plants stands. With reference to objective 2, variables characterizing vegetation and the environment were thoroughly documented but found to explain very little of the variation in TH presence/absence and abundance. Finally, larval experiments were able to definitively reject the hypothesis that older foliage might be important for larval growth. The implications of these findings for the conservation of TH are discussed. In brief, the following main conclusions were made: (1) The widespread range of the butterfly within the study area has positive implications for persistence, though it should be remembered that the entire study area is not itself large and is prone to wildfires. (2) TH appear to associate with the host trees under a range of environmental conditions on Otay Mountain, but this should not be taken to mean that a monoculture of the trees would be sufficient for TH population persistence; to the contrary, patch edge use by TH strongly suggests that variation in patch size, area, and configuration are important and desirable targets for management and conservation. (3) Finally, it is noted that these findings point the way towards research that could be conducted with TH or (more likely) with closely related species to address the importance of habitat configuration and heterogeneity on population dynamics.

    • UNR Thorne's Hairstreak Monitoring

      Monitoring of the Thorne's hairstreak and mapping Tecate cypress. (1) Conduct occupancy surveys for Thorne?s hairstreak (TH) adults and juveniles. (2) Characterize habitat associated with TH presence. (3) Age trees (by coring) in sampled stands of Tecate cypress. (4) Conduct larval and adult experiments to assess the importance of tree age for TH. (5) Analyze data from 2009 and 2010 and prepare final report.

  • Vegetation Mapping & Classification

  • Vegetation Monitoring Methods

    • Vegetation Monitoring Methods

      The objective of this NCCP Local Assistance Grant project is to evaluate different sampling designs and field protocols for monitoring coastal sage scrub (CSS) and chaparral vegetation communities. This effort addresses one of the two broad goals of the monitoring program, namely monitoring biodiversity and ecosystem function.

    • Vegetation Monitoring Methods - Part 1

      Part 1 - The objective of this project is to evaluate the cost and accuracy of different sampling designs and field protocols for monitoring coastal sage scrub (CSS) and chaparral vegetation. This project builds on the Franklin, Regan and Deutschman LAG project funded by CDFG (Agreement #P0450009) and complements two other recently awarded LAG grants. These projects include a review of the rare plant monitoring program for the MSCP by McEachern et al. (Agreement # P0350011) and a review of the animal monitoring portion of the MSCP by the USFWS (Agreement #P0585100). This report follows and elaborates on ideas presented in two earlier reports submitted to CA DFG (Deutschman, Franklin, and Lewison - Agreement # P0685105; Deutschman - Agreement # P0782006).

    • Vegetation Monitoring Methods - Part 2

      A new phase of this work began in 2010. After several years focused on data collection and analysis, work on closing the feedback loop as envisioned in Atkinson et al. 2004 is taking place. Work involved a wide array of stakeholders to revise and update the goals and objectives the monitoring and management plans, develop conceptual models for individual preserves, and adapt and apply management plans on individual preserves. One aspect of this work was a structured workshop. The workshop, based on the Dahlem model, was the first concrete step in facilitating collaborative decision making.

    • Vegetation Monitoring Methods - Part 3

      Part 3 - Continue study.

    • Vegetation Monitoring Methods - Part 4

      Part 4 - Task 1. Plot-Level Vegetation Composition and Structure. Task 2. Site-Level Vegetation Composition and Structure. Task 3. Data Analysis, Presentation and Final Report.