La Honda Creek is one of Midpen's largest and most diverse open space preserves. It embodies Midpen's coastal mission to balance environmental restoration, viable agriculture and low-intensity recreation. Ponds within this preserve were created decades ago by local ranchers needing water for their cattle. Cattle are still on the land now as part of Midpen’s Conservation Grazing Program, which continues the long tradition of Coastside ranching in alignment with our coastal mission while also helping Midpen achieve conservation goals. Today, the ponds are also important for Midpen to maintain and restore because they make up some of the last remaining freshwater habitat for local wildlife, including rare native wildlife such as western pond turtles and California red-legged frogs.
In 2009, Midpen completed a Pond Management Plan outlining restoration work aimed at improving several ponds in La Honda Creek Preserve to better support wildlife. Due to the ponds' location in the San Gregorio watershed — a Critical Coastal Area that drains into a marine reserve — the goal of restoring the ponds was to:
- Improve wetland habitat
- Prevent sedimentation in downstream habitat for endangered fish, and
- Create breeding habitat for the federally threatened California red-legged frog, a food source for the federally endangered San Francisco garter snake.
The first pond restoration project (Pond DR06) was completed in November 2010. For more project information, please review the Pond DR06 Repair Fact Sheet.
Two more pond restorations were completed in summer 2012, and another one was completed in summer 2014. An additional pond was restored in summer 2015. California red-legged frogs have been observed successfully reproducing at all of the restored ponds. Pond restoration also improves dry season water availability for cattle and other wildlife.