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The dominant vegetation is a typical coastal sage scrub;
however, of particular note in these areas are the vernal pools, remnants of the
original landscape. These pools
differ from those found on Kearny Mesa
as Otay Mesa receives less
rainfall. Such plants as the
bladderpod, Isomeris arborea, California boxthorn, Lycium
californicum, and the
endangered barrel cactus, Ferocactus viridescens, are common in the vernal pool
areas here, but scarce – or absent on Kearney. The
rare Pogogyne nudiuscula is found only on Otay.
Several other rare plants are found in the area, including Viguiera
laciniata, Selaginella cinerascens, Eryngium aristulatum var.
There is a freshwater marsh in Area A, with cattail,
Typha latifolia, and bulrush, Scirpus spp., dominant.
Otay Mesa is of interest ornithologically in the number
of vagrant species sighted here. There
are significant populations of the burrowing owl, Speotyto cunicularia, which
may be a declining species.
The mesa is a marine terrace dating to the late Pliocene
or early Pleistocene.
areas are relatively undisturbed, though surrounded by highly disturbed areas.
Ref: Oberbauer, T. A. 1976. Preservation of Vernal Pools
on Otay Mesa. Int. Plan. Off., San Diego Cty., Mimeo., 19 pp.
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