Bridges & Santa Fe Creek

Bridges & Santa Fe Creek Open Space Preserve, located in the community of Rancho Santa Fe within The Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe development, consists of two contiguous parcels totaling 112.09 acres. The Preserve is surrounded by conserved lands on Chumas-Pappas to the north, Onyx Ridge to the east, and Rancho Cielo to the south and east. The Preserve serves to provide a contiguous corridor of open space along Escondido Creek and lies within a large contiguous block of undeveloped lands which has been Escondido Creek colorsidentified as potential core habitat for a number of species, including the federally threatened coastal California gnatcatcher. San Diego Habitat Conservancy (SDHC) owns the preserve and commenced active management in September 2012.

History: This open space preserve was set aside as mitigation for the development of the Santa Fe Creek project, a cluster of 40 large residential lots, and expansion of the Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe Driving Range. Lennar was the developer of the project, Helix EPI prepared the CEQA documentation, and Helix Construction Group performed revegetation activities.

Habitat: The Preserve consists of 85.07 acres of Diegan coastal sage scrub, 13.10 acres of riparian woodland, 3.50 acres of southern mixed chaparral, 0.70 acre of coastal and valley freshwater marsh, and 0.36 acre of southern cottonwood-willow riparian forest.

Management Duties: SDHC monitors the Preserve on a monthly basis and conducts one nocturnal survey per year to search for owls, amphibians, and mammals. The federally threatened coastal California gnatcatcher will be surveyed for every five years. Due to the substantial population of Giant Reed (Arundo donax) onsite, a 10-year eradication effort will be conducted to remove this specific invasive species. Also, every five years, as part of vegetation mapping updates, populations of the following sensitive species will be assessed: San Diego goldenstar, Orcutt’s brodiaea, summer holly, sticky dudleya, white coast ceanothus, Engelmann oak, sea dahlia, San Diego marsh-elder, California adolphia, southwestern spiny rush, San Diego sagewort, loggerhead shrike, white-tailed kite, southern rufous-crowned sparrow.

SDHC meets with The Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe Homeowners’ Association (HOA) and provides either a brochure or an article to be included in the HOA’s newsletter on an annual basis to inform residents of stewardship activities and solicit their support in the conservation and protection of the sensitive habitat that provides a natural open space buffer around their community.

Species of Special Interest:  Ashy spike-moss, California adolphia, Engelmann oak, Palmer sagewort, San Diego marsh-elder, southwestern spiny rush, sticky dudleya, summer holly, wart-stem ceanothus, coastal California gnatcatcher, Cooper’s hawk, Nuttall’s woodpecker, rufous-crowned sparrow, yellow warbler.

Chaparral Habitat
Diegan Coastal Sage Scrub Habitat
Riparian Habitat
To learn more about a habitat, click on the name.

Bridges & Santa Fe Creek Preserve map