Certified Habitat Stewardship Program

Monarch butterfly on native flora


To preserve and encourage native habitats for plants and wildlife; boost populations of monarch butterflies and pollinators; and help manage stormwater run-off.


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 an application with the registration fee (first-time applicants - $50) and provide a sketch of the garden plan and location of habitat elements.
  2. Meet with the City Horticulturalist for initial inspection and approval.
  3. Annually re-submit applications and a $15 fee for a 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. 
  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.