Looking for a great job with a great organization doing great work to conserve San Diego’s natural environment?

Then look no further. Our friends at the San Diego Audubon Society are seeking a new Director of Conservation.

San Diego Audubon Society (SDAS) is a non-profit organization working to promote the protection and appreciation of birds, other wildlife, and their habitats in and around San Diego County. We seek a highly-motivated individual with a professional background in grassroots environmental advocacy and policy, conservation science and planning, and habitat restoration to serve as our Director of Conservation. If you have both a passion for and strong experience in environmental advocacy, endangered species protection and habitat restoration, excel at engaging partners, stakeholders, and volunteers, and have excellent project management and writing skills, we want to hear from you.

Please visit the San Diego Audubon Society website for details and contact information.

Request for Proposals – Proctor Valley Vernal Pool & Uplands Habitat Restoration Project

Deadline for Notification of Intent to Participate in Mandatory Site Meeting: May 2, 2018, 5pm

Deadline for Proposals: May 18, 2018, 5pm

The Chaparral Lands Conservancy is requesting proposals from qualified professional contractors for a project to enhance and restore vernal pool wetlands, associated uplands, and endangered and sensitive species on nineteen acres in south San Diego County, California, over approximately three years. Please see the linked request for proposals and associated restoration plan.

Download the RFP in PDF format
Download the Restoration and Enhancement Plan in PDF format

Request for Proposals – Crest Canyon Invasive Plant Control Project

Proposal Deadline: February 16, 201, 5:00 pm

The Chaparral Lands Conservancy is requesting proposals from qualified professionals for a project to control invasive plant weeds in the Crest Canyon Preserve in the Del Mar Heights Community of the City of San Diego during two winter seasons in 2018 and 2019.

Please note that applicants should be prepared to begin work on the project no later than February 26, 2018 (weather permitting).

Download the RFP in PDF format

What if everyone did one thing?

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, organized citizens can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”
Margaret Mead

Mead’s quote has been some comfort during this past week that was so disappointing for San Diego environmentalists hoping to improve the City of San Diego’s Vernal Pool Habitat Conservation Plan. And it’s been a brutal year overall watching environmental and other progressive laws and agencies systematically dismantled by the Trump administration.

Fighting for vernal pools and the other special subtle nature of San Diego may seem like a fools errand. It’s not. One wealthy woman who cared saved Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve forever. One small group of Del Mar residents saved Torrey Pines Extension and another goup saved nearby Crest Canyon. One vernal pool scientist and her attorney saved an incredible vernal pool site in Tierra Santa. A small group saved the Carmel Mountain and Del Mar Mesa preserves and all their vernal pools. A small group saved Coyote Canyon in Anza Borrego Desert State Park from a freeway and stagnant flooding behind a proposed dam. One woman stopped the dam proposed to flood the sublime Pamo Valley near Ramona. One woman stopped a huge landfill in Campo. And one man has fought off the huge Fanita Ranch sprawl subdivision in Santee for over twenty years. Imagine what more could change for the better if everyone did one thing to fight to save nature.

Experienced Bookkeeper Wanted

The Chaparral Lands Conservancy is seeking an experienced bookkeeper proficient in Microsoft Excel and QuickBooks to assist the Executive Director with maintenance of financial records and preparation of invoices. The ideal candidate will be detail oriented and willing to learn and use the organization’s existing system.

The bookkeeper will be an independent contractor and hours will vary. We estimate about 20 hours per month. The rate of pay is $25 per hour. To apply, please send your resume to: director@chaparralconservancy.org.

Request for Proposals – Otay Mesa Vernal Pool Habitat Restoration Project I

Proposal Deadline: November 10, 2017, 5pm

The Chaparral Lands Conservancy is requesting proposals from qualified professional contractors for the Otay Mesa Vernal Pool Habitat Restoration Project I. The purpose of this project is to enhance and restore vernal pool wetlands, associated uplands, and endangered and sensitive species on a five-acre site in southern San Diego County, California, over approximately five years. Please see the request for proposals and associated restoration plan below.

Request for Proposals_10-6-17

Restoration & Enhancement Plan_Otay Mesa Project I

(Still) Working to Save Orcutt’s Spineflower

Time really flies when you’re working to save tiny endangered plants! This vintage newspaper story in the San Diego Union from 1991 describes the exciting rediscovery of the endangered Orcutt’s spineflower in Encinitas that, before then hadn’t been seen for several years and had even been considered extinct as development chewed up San Diego coastal natural habitats. Way back then, now-TCLC Executive Director David Hogan was quoted, “This site is desperately needed as a seed bank to replant areas where it was once known. That would be part of the recovery program.” The spineflower’s status was somewhat improved when the species was also rediscovered in the late 1990s at several sites on Navy land on Point Loma and at one site near Del Mar in 2009.

Orcutt’s spineflower photo by Margaret Fillius.

Fast-forward to 2017: TCLC has been working to protect and restore the still-endangered Orcutt’s spineflower (Chorizanthe oructtiana) as part of its Rarest Plants Project. The spineflower live only in very particular soils near the coast where nearly all of its original habitat has been lost to urban development. So, starting in 2014, TCLC began mapping the special soils and conducting field surveys in other suitable habitat to identify any other unknown populations on nature preserve lands.

TCLC spread the exciting news in 2015 that this work resulted in the discovery of seven new populations of the species at several coastal North County preserves. Since then, TCLC staff, volunteers, and colleagues with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Cabrillo National Monument have found four additional populations for a grand total of eleven new, never before-recorded populations with hundreds of plants!

Typical open sandy Orcutt’s spineflower habitat at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.

TCLC has also worked with the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden to collect and bulk seed to attempt to establish new populations, weeded around existing populations, and installed fencing and signs at several preserves to direct visitors to designated trails and away from delicate spineflower populations. Seed bulked by the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden was introduced to several areas of suitable but unoccupied habitat in late 2015 and we’re pleased to report that nearly five hundred plants were counted at the seeded sites in spring 2017. In all, population numbers are quite a bit more encouraging than the mere fifteen seen in Encinitas in 1991! Check out this detailed report on TCLC’s work to protect Orcutt’s spineflowers for much more information.

TCLC sign closing a path into Orcutt’s spineflower habitat.

The conservation status of Orcutt’s spineflower has significantly improved since then with so many newly discovered populations. But even these populations located on lands protected from development like Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve are still seriously threatened by exotic invasive plants and trampling from visitors walking off-trails. One particular invasive plant, purple veldt grass has spread rapidly from freeway and other landscaping and could outcompete spineflowers and even crowd out most other coastal natural vegetation in just a few years. So much more work is needed to control invasive plants and to provide long-term stewardship for the spineflower and many other native plants, endangered and common alike.

City of San Diego Rangers and TCLC volunteers installing trail fence to protect Orcutt’s spineflower.

TCLC couldn’t have done the work to save Orcutt’s spineflower without the generous support of several government agencies and staff at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, San Diego Association of Governments, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Big thanks are due too to AJP Consulting, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, Rocks Biological Consulting, and Torrey Pines Docent extraordinaire Margaret Fillius.

Goodbye Jim Karnik

We at The Chaparral Lands Conservancy were shocked and saddened by the sudden passing last week of San Diego nature filmmaker Jim Karnik. Jim’s passion for wild things and wild places really showed in the short films he produced for us and many other southern California environmental groups. KPBS news published a nice tribute to Jim today, and our thoughts are with Jim’s family.

Another project by The Chaparral Lands Conservancy is in the KPBS Radio news!

The Proctor Valley Vernal Pool and Uplands Habitat Restoration Project is located east of Chula Vista near the unincorporated community of Jamul on a City of San Diego nature preserve that was previously heavily damaged by off-road vehicle users. Starting in 2010, TCLC formed a partnership with the City to restore the site and worked to obtain all necessary permits. Grading was conducted in 2012 to repair damaged vernal pools and install artificial Burrowing owl burrows followed with the planting of thousands of native plants and seeding, weeding, and watering.

The site has undergone an incredible transformation from barren, compacted soils and non-native weeds to a vibrant community of vernal pool wetlands and surrounding coastal sage scrub. During the winter, endangered San Diego fairy shrimp and Western spadefoot toad tadpoles swim and wriggle in the pools during a short period of ponding. Seeded endangered vernal pool plants like San Diego button-celery and vernal pool pincushion plant have colonized the pools where they germinate as aquatic plants but grow to maturity after pools dry. And endangered animals like the California gnatcatcher, Coast horned lizard, and Burrowing owls have colonized restored coastal sage scrub.

Both vernal pools and coastal sage scrub are endangered habitats with roughly 97% of these California native ecosystem lost to development, agriculture, and other impacts. Restoring these endangered ecosystems and species is part of the mission of The Chaparral Lands Conservancy and we’re honored by today’s great media attention and support from all of our project partners. Particular thanks go to the City of San Diego Public Utilities Department for supporting the project and providing access to the Otay Lakes Cornerstone Lands Preserve. Thanks also to our funders, the California Department of Parks and Recreation Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division, California Natural Resources Agency, San Diego Association of Governments, San Diego Foundation, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. For more information please visit our Proctor Valley Vernal Pool Restoration page.

Read the full story at KPBS.org!


The Chaparral Lands Conservancy has submitted a grant application to the California State Parks Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division (OHMVRD) to restore off-highway vehicle (OHV) unauthorized routes in eastern San Diego County.

clc_mccainvalleysignThe Eastern San Diego County OHV Unauthorized Routes Project is located in two discreet areas: Buck Canyon near the community of Ranchita; and McCain Valley near the community of Boulevard. The Project would restore unauthorized routes used by OHVs in both areas including OHV trails where there are no designated routes and trails designated for non-motorized recreation that are used by OHVs. Restoration of unauthorized routes would protect natural and cultural resources and block ongoing OHV access into designated wilderness, riparian areas, endangered species habitat, and other sensitive areas.

The preliminary grant application is available on the OHMVRD’s website for review and comment from Tuesday, March 8, 2016 through 5pm Monday, April 4, 2016. The OHMVRD website provides detailed instructions on how to view the grant application and submit comments. Note that comments must be submitted by email to both the OHMVRD and TCLC. Comments to TCLC should be submitted to David Hogan at director@chaparralconservancy.org.

For more information, please contact TCLC Director David Hogan at 619 756-3864 or director@chaparralconservancy.org.