In January, habitat restoration at the the San Dieguito River Park took us to a large stand of prickly pear cactus. The cactus in this area had been planted about 6 years ago as a nesting site for the Coastal Cactus Wren which had lost much of its’ habitat in the 2007 Witch Creek Fire. Rangers were encouraged when they spot several nesting pairs at this site last year.
Our project for the day was to cut and collect the large flat cactus pads using large lopers and BBQ tongs, and plant them in 1 gallon pots to allow new roots to grow. These new cactus plants would eventually be planted in a different area, to expand the cactus wren habitat. Rangers Jake and Nico showed us their cactus cutting and collecting techniques and we successfully accomplished the task with more than a few loud cries of “OUCH”, but no major injuries.