HABITAT PRESERVATION UNDERWAY
2,058 ACRES NOW IN PUBLIC
Boden Canyon, located about 10 miles east of
the Wild Animal Park and to the north of Highway 78, has been
identified as an area of significant biological importance. The
quality of the habitat in this area has led to the public acquisition
of all of the land in the 2,068-acre canyon, with the exception
of a 10-acre-parcel at the far northwest corner, which will remain
privately owned. Permanent preservation of Boden Canyon
will ensure the continued use of the canyon’s well-traveled north/south
wildlife corridor, allowing uninterrupted wildlife movement between
the San Dieguito River Valley and open space areas to the north.
A tributary canyon of the San Dieguito River
Valley, Boden Canyon contains a diverse population of plants
and animals. This secluded canyon, which has benefited from minimal
human activity and diligent property management, functions as
a regionally significant wildlife corridor that includes habitat
for large mammals such as deer and mountain lion. In addition,
the canyon is home to the endangered arroyo toad and provides
nesting and foraging habitat for more than 128 species of resident
and migratory birds.
The canyon supports well-developed riparian
habitat consisting of an oak and sycamore canopy and a diverse
understory of shrubs and herbaceous plants. Both coast live oak
and Engelmann oak can be found here. Beyond the main drainage,
the vegetation types include coastal sage scrub, southern mixed
chaparral, and a few pockets of native grasslands. A man-made
pond located near the center of the canyon provides open water
and freshwater marsh habitat.
Public ownership in Boden Canyon is divided
among three public agencies - the County of San Diego (40 acres),
the City of San Diego (797 acres) and the California Department
of Fish & Game (1,221 acres). In addition, a portion
of these public lands is located within the boundaries of the
Cleveland National Forest. All of Boden Canyon is included within
the San Dieguito River Park’s Focused Planning Area, as well
as within the boundaries of the City of San Diego’s Multiple
Species Conservation Plan.
The City of San Diego’s Environmental Services
Department purchased 240 acres in the central portion of the
canyon as mitigation for offsite impacts to native habitat and
the County of San Diego’s Department of Public Works purchased
40 acres as mitigation for an offsite road project. Most recently,
the State Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) purchased 1,221 acres
in both the north and south ends of the canyon for habitat preservation.
The management responsibility for the WCB purchase lies with
the California Department of Fish and Game. An additional 557
acres at the southern end of Boden Canyon were purchased many
years ago by the City of San Diego’s Water Department for watershed
Now that much of the land within the canyon
has been acquired for habitat preservation, it is important that
a management plan be developed that takes into consideration
the goals and objectives of all the participating agencies. Such
a multi-agency management plan will ensure that the primary objective
for the canyon, that of biological resource protection, is realized,
and that other associated compatible uses can be evaluated and
implemented in the future, as deemed appropriate by a consensus
of the various stakeholders. Until the management plan has been
developed, the area will be generally closed to public access.
Funding was secured from the California Department
of Fish and Game Natural Community Conservation Planning (NCCP)
program for the preparation and processing of an interagency
preserve management plan for the 2,058-acre area. The City of
San Diego will administer the grant and has hired a biological
consulting firm to prepare a draft plan. Development of the management
plan will however be a cooperative effort, involving the City
of San Diego, California Department of Fish and Game, County
of San Diego, and the San Dieguito River Park. Because of Boden
Canyon’s relationship to the Cleveland National Forest, the Forest
Service will also be a participant in the management plan process.
Another important player in the development of the management
plan is the public. Public participation will be a major focus
of the planning effort.
An initial step in the management plan process
is to update the existing biological resources information for
the area in order to establish a biological baseline. This baseline
data will describe the existing biological characteristics and
habitat quality of the canyon. The primary goal of the plan will
be to preserve the quality of the habitat, and where deemed necessary
recommend measures to improve any degraded area. The plan itself
will address the following management directives: restoration/revegetation
of disturbed areas; invasive exotics control and removal; fire
management; public use/access, trails and recreation; trash control;
adjacency management issues; and flood/erosion control. The grant
also provides funds for the development and initial implementation
of an exotic plant species removal/control plan. Each property
owner or stakeholder has been requested to draft their proposed
goals for a joint management plan in Boden Canyon. These
will all be synthesized into a draft document for public review.
The San Dieguito River Park's proposed goals
for Boden Canyon are listed below:
SAN DIEGUITO RIVER PARK GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
FOR BODEN CANYON PRESERVE
Preserve and protect biological and cultural
Provide opportunities for a variety of limited
Minimize disturbance to biological and cultural
Limit uses to those that are compatible with
natural open space preserve and passive recreation (such as
hiking, bird watching, nature interpretation).
Construct the Lower Santa Ysabel segment
of the Coast to Crest trail (non-motorized multiple use trail
for hikers, bicyclists, equestrians) through lower Boden Canyon
to connect Boden Canyon to Pamo Valley and Lake Sutherland.
Establish a non-motorized multiple-use spur
trail up Boden Canyon from the Lower Santa Ysabel trail along
the existing dirt road to Boden pond.
Establish a loop trail connection from Boden
Canyon eastward into the Cleveland National Forest to the Coast
to Crest trail.
Designate a hikers only trail from Boden
pond to the north end of the Boden property.
Construct a staging area for trail users
inside the gate at Highway 78 (possibly at “Steppe Mountain”)
and designate the existing dirt road as a trail to the intersection
of the Lower Santa Ysabel and Boden Canyon trails.
Retain Boden pond and designate a low-impact
picnic area next to the pond (passive only – no barbecues,
no rest rooms, no improvements). Define the area to minimize
impacts and encourage picnickers to stay in one area.
Establish a primitive camping area at the
disturbed area east of Boden pond (no improvements).
Provide interpretive opportunities (signs)
at the staging area and along the trail to educate users on
the history and resources of Boden Canyon
Retain a volunteer host on site to monitor
activities and establish a presence.
Establish a maintenance/monitoring program
to tackle problem areas and issues such as invasive species,
cattle intrusion, erosion repair/prevention, revegetation,
road/creek crossing repair and maintenance, litter/dumping,
Establish a long-term management committee
to monitor the management plan, coordinate activities, and
If you would like to be notified of future
public meetings related to the Boden Canyon Management Plan,
please provide your name, address, phone number, and fax/e-mail,
if available, to Shawna Anderson: phone (858) 674-2275 ex. 13;
fax (858) 674-2280; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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