Radio-Encanto Canyons Cactus Wren and Gnatcatcher Restoration Program

RadioCanyonCleanUpGroundwork San Diego-Chollas Creek has , since 2010, received ongoing funding from SANDAG Transnet to maintain, monitor, and diversify 12.16 acres of recently-created habitat; vegetate 4.69 acres of recently cleared and treated habitat; and clear and prepare for long-term community stewardship an additional 2.63 disturbed acres. These actions are providing a complete habitat that serves all aspects of the cactus wren’s ecological needs. Restoration and invasives control are broadening both the ecological and aesthetic values of the canyons, with contracted work augmented by community stewardship efforts completed at the direction of a restoration contractor. Stewardship efforts are assisted by plant propagation (i.e. seed/cutting collection and growing) at the Earthlab, plant installation, exotics removal, dethatching, and nest box construction. In partnership with City of San Diego Parks and Recreation Open Space Division, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, USGS, and San Diego Unified, ecologists will be providing technical expertise regarding cactus wren monitoring and restoration planning, and engaging student in hands on learning and service.

IN 2013, Groundwork Transnet funding to implement 2013-15 Phase III Radio-Encanto Canyons Cactus Wren and Gnatcatcher Restoration Program. Groundwork will restore (with matching funds) three additional acres in Radio Canyon, and maintain and monitor (with Transnet funds) the 16.43 acres of recently-created native habitat. These actions are necessary to ensure that Transnet restoration efforts to date are not lost and that the restored habitat continues to develop and support sensitive species, including the coastal cactus wren and coastal California gnatcatcher. Vegetation monitoring will be conducted to guide the maintenance efforts and will help measure the efficacy of the habitat restoration program in providing expanded native habitat. Canyon-based 5th-8th grade STEM lesson plans will be developed using previously-installed wildlife cameras and artificial nest boxes, ensuring on-going neighborhood-driven canyon stewardship. Groundwork’s Green Team, sponsored by CalFire, will lead regularly-scheduled restoration events. Restoration plants will be propagated at the EarthLab (established through prior Transnet funding), and staffed by a current USFWS grant.