SAN DIEGO — A new viewing deck was built over a wetland on the Carmel Mountain Preserve, the Chaparral Lands Conservancy announced Wednesday.

The environmental group said the deck is intended to provide visitors an opportunity for close-up viewing of fairy shrimp, tadpoles and other vernal pool wildlife. Also included are interpretive signs on the natural history of vernal pools.

An interpretive sign is pictured at the viewing deck. (Photo released by The Chaparral Lands Conservancy)

The project was in collaboration with efforts from Eagle Scout candidate Dylan Kearse, who’s also a senior at Canyon Crest Academy in Pacific Highlands Ranch.

“I’ve enjoyed visiting the Carmel Mountain Preserve near my home and the vernal pool deck was a great fit for an Eagle Scout project”, said Kearse. “This project had a bit of several great life experiences, including teamwork, logistics, engineering, construction and biology. It’s been fun explaining the project to passerby during construction and we’ve heard a lot of positive feedback.”

The Chaparral Lands Conservancy said their mission is to protect shrubland ecosystems as an integral feature of California’s natural landscape through land preservation.

“The original idea for the vernal pool deck originated with the conservancy several years ago as part of our work to repair damaged habitat on the preserve”, said conservancy director David Hogan. “But it took Dylan’s motivation and Eagle Scout project to get us over the finish line. Many visitors to the Preserve have heard of vernal pools and this is a great way to see them up-close.”

The 300 acre Carmel Mountain Preserve is located east of Interstates 5 and 805 and south of State Route 56 in the northern community of Carmel Valley.