Los Osos Sweet Springs Nature Preserve Expands Area and Species Habitat

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Sweet Springs Nature Preserve is nestled in the Baywood neighborhood of Los Osos along Morro Bay. It’s a 33-acre wildlife sanctuary meant to support migratory birds year-round and it’s growing.

The reserve is forested in some places and opens onto a productive marsh fed by small streams on the property.

The Morro Coast Audubon Society manages the reserve. It is a non-profit conservation organization focused on supporting birds and their habitat. Judy Neuhauser is the president of the organization.

“I think 240 species have been documented in the reserve. We have about 40 in this nest,” Neuhauser said.

She said they had seen horned owls, peregrine falcons, bald eagles and osprey around the reserve.

Neuhauser said he purchased an additional acre of land along Pismo Avenue and 3rd Street right next to the reservation. She said the extra space will further support the wildlife and ecosystem that are important to several endangered plants and animals in Sweet Springs.

Morro Coast Audubon Society

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Members of the public will not be permitted to enter most of the new plot of land. Although a walking trail will be accessible that connects to the rest of the reserve.

“So it’s a willow thicket and it’s a thicket,” Neuhauser said. “It’s blackberry, willow, poison oak, stinging nettle. It’s not a place you really want to go back to.”

It may not be an ideal place for humans, but Neuhauser said it is crucial habitat for birds. The rest of the reserve has wooden walkways built for visitors, but this new area won’t really be for public use.

“For the most part, we leave it alone,” Neuhauser said.

She said there will be a trail with thorny plants growing alongside to discourage off-trail use. They plan to remove invasive species like ice plant and veld grass. A new fence and gate will also be installed.

Neuhauser said the more land they preserve for wildlife, the more benefits become available to the environment as a whole.

“By providing habitat for birds to nest and for birds to thrive, we provide ecological services to the whole community.”

The land was purchased for $250,000 from community members Carole Maurer and John Dilworth.

To learn more about how to support the project, visit morrocoastaudubon.org.

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