Located west of Rancho Bernardo, the 4S Ranch Project is one of the largest land development ventures in San Diego County.
BFSA began work on the 4S Ranch in 1980, which included an intense archaeological survey of the 3,600-acre property resulting in the identification of 170 archaeological sites. Since 1980, eight additional studies have been conducted on the 4S Ranch, including a testing program to determine the significance of the 170 archaeological sites and assess the potential impacts of the proposed development of the property.
The final survey and testing report for the 4S Ranch encompassed a ten-volume, 5,000-page document that became a technical appendix for the 4S Ranch Environmental Impact Report (EIR), which was accepted by the County in 1998. As part of the 4S Ranch archaeological program, a master Cultural Resource Management Plan (CRMP) was developed in concert with the County and in compliance with CEQA. The CRMP was designed for the management of all of the cultural resources within the ranch property, and over 80 sites of various levels of importance were preserved in open space.
For the sites of significance within the development envelope, a master research design was prepared to outline the relevant research objectives of future excavations, the range of special studies needed to complete the research, and the size of excavations for data recovery programs to achieve the mitigation of impacts. The data recovery program completed in 2011 represents one of the largest such programs ever undertaken in San Diego County and has resulted in major advances in our understanding of prehistoric cultures in this area.