The Carlsbad City Council approved a contract June 14 for the first in a series of improvements to the Lake Calavera Preserve, one of the city’s largest swaths of protected habitat and nature trails, located in the northeastern part of Carlsbad. The work, which includes building a bathroom for trail users and the replacement of invasive plant species with native plants, will require some temporary trail closures this fall.
All work will be done under the direction of a professional biologist or restoration ecologist.
The city will begin some preparatory work for the removal of about an acre of Mexican fig palms and Brazillian peppertrees this summer. The trees will not be removed until September when the bird nesting season is over. The removal is expected take about three weeks, followed by three weeks of work to put in native plants, including western sycamore, western cottonwood, coast live oak, California blackberry, red willow and Mexican elderberry.
The palm grove is located at the northeast corner of the preserve, just west of Oak Riparian Park and south of Lake Boulevard in Oceanside.
“Many people don’t realize that palm trees are not native to this area and can actually harm the local environment by pushing out native plants needed for the ecosystem to survive,” said Sherri Howard, associate engineer for the City of Carlsbad. “Most of the trees are in poor condition today, some dead or nearly dead.”
Also in September, the city will begin construction of a single stall, unisex restroom on the north side of the Calavera Dam. The restroom project will include a bike rack and a drinking fountain, and the design will coordinate with an existing pump station nearby. The restroom should be open to the public in December.
“The restroom and drinking fountain will be a welcome addition to this well-used trail system,” said Kasia Trojanowska, park planner. “These are the two improvements most requested by the public.”
Other work will include vegetation clearing near the dam as part of its annual maintenance program; measures to reduce the possible presence of ticks and rodents; and new landscape irrigation.
The city will spend approximately $600,000 for these improvements.
The preserve is part of the city’s Habitat Management Plan, which is designed to preserve and protect sensitive biological resources within the city while allowing for continued economic development.
The Calavera Dam provides flood control for the area by keeping the Lake Calavera Reservoir contained.
For more information about the project, call 760-602-2780.