Lowe’s Biological Open Space Preserve (Preserve) consists of 9.6 acres along the San Diego River within the limits of Mast Park in the City of Santee, east of Carlton Hills Boulevard, and north of Willowgrove Avenue. San Diego Habitat Conservancy (SDHC) Lowe's Preserve viewcommenced active management of the Preserve in January 2011 after a 6-year wetlands mitigation program was completed on a 5.25-acres portion of the Preserve.

History: This open space preserve was set aside as mitigation for development of a 230,000 square foot commercial center, with Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse serving as the anchor tenant and occupying 162,375 square feet. Development resulted in permanent impacts to 2.62 acres of wetlands under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, including 2.50 acres of herbaceous wetlands, 0.09 acre of disturbed wetlands, 0.02 acre of southern willow scrub, and 0.01 acre of culverted Waters of the U.S. Compensatory wetlands mitigation was required at a ratio of 2:1 for herbaceous wetlands and disturbed wetlands and 3:1 for southern willow scrub, thus requiring the creation and enhancement of 5.25 acres of jurisdictional wetlands habitat. The restoration required six years instead of the envisioned five, due to a late-discovered hardpan a couple feet below ground surface that restricted vegetation growth.  Dudek was the CEQA consultant and restoration contractor for the project.

Habitat: The Preserve consists of 5.9 acres of southern riparian forest, 3.5 acres of southern willow scrub, and 0.05 acres of disturbed habitat.

Management Duties: Because of the project’s age, the project pre-dated the requirement for the preparation of a Habitat Management Plan (or similarly-titled plan) that outlines management duties. SDHC developed the management duties by reviewing permit and CEQA requirements and those duties were outlined in the PAR. SDHC monitors the Preserve once a year to observe and document substantial changes in the habitat composition and identify potential conflicts to the preserve goals and the need for remedial measures. Non-native, invasive plant species are removed as necessary. When the PAR was originally prepared in 2004, it was envisioned that much more time was going to be spent on trash removal, weeding, and illegal trespassing.  These potential problems require much less time than initially thought and that time will now be spent on supplemental monitoring.

SDHC holds one community outreach meeting or event per year with surrounding residence owners and the public to 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: Least Bell's vireo.

  Riparian Habitat
For more information about this habitat, click the name.

Lowe's Open Space preserve map