Not too long ago I found a national wildlife refuge that previously I did not know about. It’s the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge:
It is not in any of my San Diego books about hiking, biking, walking, running, or national thises and thats. Time to turn to………………….
Russel Ray, Private Investigator.
The San Diego National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1996. Ah-ha! That explains my lack of knowledge about it. I arrived in San Diego in April 1993 and, in March 1994, decided to stay here. At that time I bought a bunch of books about San Diego County, all published well before 1996. Hmmm. Maybe it’s time to get some more recent books.
According to some articles I found on the Internet, “The San Diego Refuge will protect, enhance, and restore habitats for threatened and endangered species, migratory birds, and rare plants and animals found in a variety of habitats. It will help conserve the biological diversity of San Diego County and provide important habitat for a significant number of endangered birds. It has been designated a Globally Important Bird Area by the American Bird Conservancy.”
Although it was originally established with 8,471 acres, it now comprises over 9,200 acres.
There ya go! My work is done.
I guess you want some pictures, huh? You folks are demanding.
According to a plaque I found, many of the trails throughout the area where I walked were created by Samuel Marks as his Eagle Scout service project in August 2006. The plaque you see by the fence in the rear center of the picture above indicates that the area behind the fence is filled with San Diego Ambrosia (Ambrosia pumila), a small, endangered plant only a few inches tall that grows in dry, sunny spots in southeast San Diego County.
I walked around the trails for three hours but obviously did not even come close to traipsing all 9,200 acres. Somewhere in all that acreage are 30 acres of vernal pools with San Diego fairy shrimp, San Diego button celery, Otay Mesa mint, and California orcutt grass. Vernal pools are puddles of water that exist for a few hours to a few days after rains. In my home state of Texas, we actually called them “puddles of water” and stomped around in them to get all muddy and wet, to the chagrin of our parents. Who knew that tiny organisms were born, lived, and died in those puddles of water in just a few hours or days? Not to mention that I feel so bad now knowing that I might have been stomping the life out of some tiny creatures belonging to Mother and Father Nature.
This last picture is of a nasty, invasive plant called dodder. To see additional pictures and a discussion of dodder, see my blog post here.
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