EHL’s sister land trust has protected the oak savannas of Montecito Ranch in Ramona.
Endangered Habitats Conservancy (EHC) partnered with the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Wildlife Conservation Board, and California Department of Fish and Wildlife to conserve the scenic 955-acre Montecito Ranch. The ranch had previously been approved for suburban development of 417 homes and represents one of the last large blocks of habitat in the Ramona Grassland Preserve, which now totals near 5,000 acres.
The military funds came via the U.S. Department of Defense’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) program, which removes land-use conflicts near military installations while facilitating training to support military readiness at installations such as Camp Pendleton.
The $18 million acquisition––which will form an important part of a future North County habitat plan––protects sensitive and endangered species, including the coastal California gnatcatcher, golden eagle, and Stephens’ kangaroo rat. It also will enhance connections between conserved open space and protect the area’s unique vernal pools. EHC will own and manage the property.
Montecito Ranch has a history extending back to the late 19th century and was once owned by actor James Cagney. We thank and congratulate the landowner, who was a collaborative seller, and all the funding partners.