Ramona, CA (map)
Phone: (619) 956-4703;
More info: Website
Hours: Currently closed to the public
(Check San Diego County website for updates.)
The Ramona Grasslands Preserve is located in the Santa Maria Valley, situated between the coastal mesas and the mountains of the Peninsular Ranges in west-central San Diego County.
The Santa Maria Valley’s remaining grasslands are largely intact, though fragmented by roads and subjected to edge effects by adjacent residential and infrastructure development. The Ramona Grasslands Preserve includes a significant portion of the remaining undeveloped portion of the Santa Maria Creek watershed. The watershed supports a mosaic of habitat types, including native and non-native grasslands, coastal sage scrub, chaparral, oak woodlands, Santa Maria Creek, its adjacent riparian area, and a diversity of unique vernal pools, vernal swales, and alkali playas. Many rare animals make their homes in this area. Stephens’ kangaroo rat, fairy shrimp, purple stipa, blue-eyed grass, and wooley blue curls are among the rare inhabitants. Birdwatchers are drawn to the grasslands for the spectacular number of hawks that spend the winter here. Santa Maria Creek, which runs through the grasslands, adds to the biodiversity .
Although the Ramona Grasslands Preserve is not yet open to the public, a partnership of the County, The Nature Conservancy, and the Wildlife Research Institute is currently involved in a protection and restoration project, funded by a State Water Resources Control Board Proposition 13 grant.