The TransNet Extension Ordinance and Expenditure Plan, approved countywide by voters in November 2004, includes an Environmental Mitigation Program (EMP) which is a funding allocation category for the costs to mitigate habitat impacts for regional transportation projects. The EMP is a unique component of the TransNet Extension in that it goes beyond traditional mitigation for transportation projects by including a funding allocation for habitat acquisition, management, and monitoring activities as needed to help implement the Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP) and the Multiple Habitat Conservation Program (MHCP). This funding allocation is tied to mitigation requirements and the environmental clearance approval process for projects outlined in the Regional Transportation Plan (MOBILITY 2030).
On September 24, 2004, the SANDAG Board of Directors approved EMP implementation guidelines. These guidelines serve as the initial steps in the process for preparing the required agreements with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the California Department of Fish and Game.
SANDAG has allocated $1 million for management and monitoring implementation activities in FY 2006. Up to $750,000 of those funds are available for land management activities. The remaining funds will be spent to develop a conserved lands database and conduct wildfire monitoring to assess the recovery of habitat that was impacted by the 2003 wildfires. These two projects will be developed through agreements with the USFWS and the US Geological Survey.