News Release Manager

Corps extends San Luis Rey habitat maintenance, bike trail closure

Published Jan. 13, 2014

LOS ANGELES – Efforts to establish recently planted native vegetation along a section of the San Luis Rey River in Oceanside will continue until at least late February, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Jan. 13.

“Until the project site receives several inches of precipitation, our contractor RECON Environmental, Inc., will continue to water the south side every two weeks,” said Corps biologist Thomas Keeney.

The area to which Keeney refers is located between Benet Road and Interstate 5 adjacent to the maintenance road next to the river.

During the bi-weekly watering of the plants, public access to the area, which includes a much-used bicycle path, will be closed from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. The closures include the weeks of Jan. 20, Feb. 3 and Feb. 17. Whether the watering effort will continue beyond those dates depends on the amount of precipitation the area receives, Keeney said.

“The site needs a minimum of three to five inches of rainfall to keep water flowing through the plant tissue and to ensure they remain hydrated for growth,” Keeney said. “We are not getting the winter rains and amount of ‘free’ water we need to keep the project from having to be watered.”

Keeney also said there are three least Bell’s vireo habitat areas that cannot be maintained (watered and weeded) because of the presence of territorial male vireos. The Corps will discuss the issue of the vireos, a federally-protected species, with the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to determine whether the Corps can re-plant the sites and then maintain them during the breeding season or if the project may need to wait until after the birds’ nesting season to replant those areas.

Greg Fuderer

Release no. 14-001