Oceanside CA- Bi-weekly closures of the San Luis Rey Bike Trail, known to the Army Corps of Engineers as the maintenance road, along the south bank of the San Luis Rey River between Benet Road and Interstate 5 will continue for the foreseeable future, according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The Corps and RECON Environmental, Inc., its contractor for San Luis Rey River habitat restoration, have established a watering regime for native vegetation planted along the banks of the San Luis Rey River. The watering alternates weekly between the north and south banks of the river. When crews water plants along the south bank, it is necessary to do so from a truck parked along the paved levee bike trail, a feature that also serves as a recreational path for joggers, walkers, bicyclists and others. For the safety of recreational users and the workers who must operate in a confined space, the bike trail is closed on alternate weeks, Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. The next scheduled closure is set for the week of March 17.
“Part of the planting could not be maintained last year due to the presence of three least Bell’s vireo territories, thus the three sites had to be left and the plants died,” said Tom Keeney, a biologist for the Corps who manages the project.
RECON replanted those three sites on the south side of the San Luis Rey River during the week of March 3.
Keeney said the contractor is required to maintain the restoration site for five years.
“We always take rainfall into account and schedule watering accordingly,” said Karyl Palmer, an environmental analyst for RECON Environmental, Inc.
“Unfortunately, the recent rainfall prior to planting did not provide enough water in the soil for new plants to survive without additional rainfall right away, so they have to be watered,” she said. “In actuality, planting after the recent rainfall was the perfect time to get the new plants in the ground. It’s much better to plant in moist soil than the extremely dry soil we had before the rain event. Otherwise we would have needed to water the new plants the following week as well, instead of waiting until the next scheduled closure.”
Palmer said RECON may be able to adjust the bi-weekly watering pattern in the future if the plants become established and natural rainfall provides the necessary water for them to survive.