The Moosa Creek Restoration Project came together after MCAS Camp Pendleton approached the 100% employee-owned firm to find a way to offset the habitat loss of two federally endangered bird species — the least Bell’s vireo and southwestern willow flycatcher — due to necessary infrastructure and safety improvements at the air station. The restoration site was designed to expand habitat near the birds’ current environment and provide a mosaic of habitats to support regional wildlife.
Due to the specific needs of the project, professionals at Burns & McDonnell needed to acquire multiple permits and approvals before the project could begin. Crews initiated site cleanup in June 2021 and broke ground in January 2022. The Moosa Creek Riparian Restoration Project is a customized mitigation solution that will restore portions of Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Camp Pendleton. The project will reestablish the property’s overall ecosystem, support endangered species and other wildlife habitat needs and provide long-term environmental benefits.
The project involves regrading and re-contouring the 67-acre property and the removal of existing amenities and infrastructure, such as golf cart pathways and bridges, parking lots, tennis and bocce ball courts and abandoned wells and structures.
As an added environmental benefit, the project is considered soil-neutral, which means the restoration project is focusing on reusing materials throughout the site to create the planned mosaic of habitat.
Workers will also reactivate the flood plain previously altered by the golf course by cutting a new, high-flow stream channel and reestablishing habitat conditions for native grasses, shrubs, trees and other vegetation to restore the area’s overall ecosystem and provide long-term environmental benefits.
After construction is complete and government agencies inspect and approve the work, the restoration areas will be managed and monitored by Burns & McDonnell with oversight by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The property will be protected in perpetuity by deed restriction to make certain everything is growing as it should, look for any invasive species that need to be controlled or removed, and confirm birds are repopulating the site.
While the Moosa Creek Riparian Restoration Project will be considered a conservation site and not open to the public, San Diego County acquired remaining portions of the golf course and plans are underway for trails, playgrounds and other activities.