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Habitat Preservation

Natural Community Conservation Planning Program

The State of California has initiated a habitat conservation planning process that concentrates on the conservation of large parcels of land and emphasizes planning for environmental systems.

The Natural Community Conservation Planning (NCCP) program pilot effort focuses on the coastal sage scrub habitat of the coastal California gnatcatcher in Southern California. The program is designed to address a habitat type of several species, rather than focusing on one species at a time. The NCCP hopes to avoid future conflicts over development by conserving identified lands as protected habitat and allowing development to occur in neighboring areas.

The State of California signed a NCCP agreement with SANDAG, the City of San Diego, and the County of San Diego. Through this agreement, the State recognizes the programs sponsored by these agencies as ongoing multi-species plans under the Natural Community Conservation Planning guidelines.

Among the efforts to preserve open space in the region are three multiple habitat/multiple species planning efforts.

In southern San Diego County, the Multiple Species Conservation Program targets more than 170,000 acres for conservation, where 85 sensitive plants and animals will be protected.

In northern San Diego County, the seven incorporated cities, working through SANDAG, make up the Multiple Habitat Conservation Program. More than 75 species are being evaluated for adequacy of conservation under the proposed 19,000-acre preserve system.

The County of San Diego is working to preserve more than one million acres of land in the remaining unincorporated areas of North and East County.

Preserving our region’s natural resources extends beyond habitat conservation. SANDAG has defined regionally significant open space to include open water or land areas that should remain natural or lands that should be retained in a relatively undeveloped, rural condition.

Project Manager

Keith Greer, Principal Regional Planner
Phone: (619) 699-7390, Email:

For media inquiries, please contact the SANDAG Public Information Office at (619) 699-1950 or