Escondido Creek Conservancy wants the city of Escondido to restore creeks.
No surprise perhaps, yet still newsworthy, the Escondido Creek Conservancy Board asked Escondido officials to consider creek restoration priorities in 2019.
Here were the priorities submitted for consideration:
Restoration of Escondido Creek
The Conservancy has received a grant to create a 30 percent restoration design for the portion of Escondido Creek in Grape Day Park. Restoration of this portion of the creek will serve as a model for what the entire flood control channel could become…While restoring the creek in Grape Day Park will be challenging due to the park’s physical constraints, now is the time to think big about the future of parks and creeks in the city as restoring creeks throughout the city and the Escondido Creek watershed will help ameliorate climate change. With the city’s help, we are confident we can find a design that works for Escondido’s residents, businesses, and wildlife. Additionally, we stand ready to work with the city to help fund complementary improvements to Grape Day Park, including expanding the park to include a library or other civic enhancements. As Central Park is to New York City, and Balboa Park is to the City of San Diego, Grape Day Park should be where the City of Escondido showcases the best it can be, as doing so will drive creek-inspired development that will help transform the city for people and wildlife.
Restoration of Reidy Creek
The Conservancy has a different grant, also working with the city, to restore the section of Reidy Creek behind the Police Station. We urge the city to consider expanding the Reidy Creek landscape maintenance district to the entire Reidy Creek drainage, including the golf course, so that Reidy Creek can be managed comprehensively as both a storm drain conveyance system and wildlife area. Comprehensive management will reduce flood risk, benefit water quality, reduce trash, and increase public safety while maximizing the ecological values of the Reidy Creek drainage. The city could also benefit if it created restoration enhancements along the creek, such as on the golf course, where it could bank future mitigation credit for city projects.
Restoration of Escondido Creek at Willow Walk/Harmony Grove and Extension of the Escondido Creek Trail
Much of the Escondido Creek Trail now open to the public is concrete-lined, unshaded, and visually unappealing. However, this Willow Walk section of Escondido Creek is primarily native vegetation, shady in parts, and visually stunning— yet it is closed to the public. Improving and opening this section to public use not only provides new park space for city residents, it creates a non-motorized path for county residents, such as residents of the new 748-home Harmony Grove Village development, to cycle or walk into downtown Escondido to explore the city and support Escondido’s economy. We hope that in 2019, the city will consider this neglected section of Escondido Creek and make its enhancement a high priority. We continue to stand ready to help in that regard.
Completion of Escondido’s Multiple Species Conservation Plan (MSCP)
Over a decade ago, the City of Escondido was a participant in regional conservation efforts to create a comprehensive plan for protection of California’s threatened and endangered plant and animal species. The MSCP planning effort began primarily to balance communitywide planning, conservation, and economic activities by creating habitat plans that resolve natural resource conflicts. Escondido took important first steps, such as contemplating long-term protection of the Lake Wohlford watershed by enrolling city-lands in the regional conservation database, but never completed the MSCP planning process. We urge the city to pick up its preliminary work set aside so many years ago and complete the MSCP for the City of Escondido.