Certified Habitat Stewardship Program

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Purpose: To preserve and encourage native habitat for plants and wildlife; boosting populations of monarch butterflies and pollinators; and help manage storm water run-off.

Principles: Keep San Marcos Beautiful and the Habitat Conservation Plan will work with Code Compliance to create a program that benefits our native habitat while providing a program that is compliant with City Code ordinances.


  1. Fill out an application. Send in application with registration fee (first time applicants - $50) and provide a sketch of garden plan and location of habitat elements.
  2. Meet with the City Horticulturalist for initial inspection and approval.
  3. Annually re-submit application and a $15 fee for maintenance inspection and certification renewal.
  4. Habitat should have a long-term, target goal of 90% native and adaptive plants. This can be accomplished through a multi-year progression to remove invasive species.
  5. Habitat should strive to feature less than 10% non-native invasive plants. Over 10% will be accepted on a case by case basis after review by the City Horticulturalist. However, in most cases, habitat stewards must be continually working to eliminate all invasive plant species.
  6. Maintain all stormwater infiltration/capture practices according to guidance provided by the City. Refer to Program Resources for additional information.
  7. No plant growth above 30 inches in height in the sight triangle, to avoid view obstruction.
  8. Growth cannot interfere with the egress of any structure; cannot impede pedestrian zones sidewalks or pathways; cannot impede any street, alley, or public right of way. 
  9. Needs to be kept free of trash, debris, junk, rubbish, excess storage or any unused items. (Code link)
  10. If the habitat fails to meet these requirements annually, the city can revoke certification until program standards are reestablished. 
  11. Designs are to incorporate onsite stormwater runoff only and do not interfere with Public Right of Way, any existing public structures, or negatively affect neighboring properties. 

Failure to meet any of the above requirements and City Codes in respect to property maintenance and building codes will result in suspending participation in the program until the violations are resolved.