Mast Park Habitat Restoration Underway in the City of Santee
Efforts kicked off this month to implement the habitat restoration plan for the 12.7-acre Mast Park in the City of Santee which serves as a mitigation area for six development projects near the San Diego River. Working closely with the City of Santee and a number of agencies, the goal is to create native wetland habitat, restoring the land to its natural conditions, helping to support native wildlife and sensitive species, and providing an open space preserve which can be enjoyed by the community for years to come.
A key activity to return the site to native habitat includes grading to remove soil from certain areas which creates better conditions for native plant growth. Non-native and exotic plants and trees are being removed, and native plants grown in HELIX’s wholesale nursery are being installed along with irrigation. HELIX biologists and archaeologists are providing construction monitoring, and our habitat restoration teams will continue to provide ongoing maintenance.
Prior to this implementation phase, HELIX managed and executed biological resource studies, restoration planning, regulatory agency permitting, long term land management responsibility coordination, and construction documents for this project. Due to the complexity of a consolidated restoration effort that will satisfy many individual project mitigation requirements, HELIX is also leading the ongoing resource agency coordination and managed the negotiation of several regulatory processes regarding site specific mitigation or the use of mitigation banks.
When the restoration implementation concludes, the Mast Park Open Space Preserve will be managed by the San Diego Habitat Conservancy – a local nonprofit organization that has been working since 2004 to acquire, manage, and protect land that supports sensitive habitats and species. The San Diego Habitat Conservancy also manages the neighboring Lowe’s Biological Open Space Preserve. These two projects together will create a consolidated community preserve of over 20 acres and will be managed in perpetuity by the San Diego Habitat Conservancy.