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Habitat Preservation

North County Multiple Habitat Conservation Program

The Multiple Habitat Conservation Program (MHCP) is a comprehensive conservation planning process that addresses the needs of multiple plant and animal species in North Western San Diego County.

The MHCP encompasses the cities of Carlsbad, Encinitas, Escondido, Oceanside, San Marcos, Solana Beach, and Vista. Its goal is to conserve approximately 19,000 acres of habitat, of which roughly 8,800 acres (46 percent) are already in public ownership and contribute toward the habitat preserve system for the protection of more than 80 rare, threatened, or endangered species.

The MHCP Subregional Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement / Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR) were adopted and certified by the SANDAG Board of Directors on March 28, 2003. Subarea plans for the cities of Carlsbad, Encinitas, Escondido, Oceanside, San Marcos, and Vista are being prepared and must be adopted by each City Council and implementing agreements with the California Department of Fish and Game and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must be signed before incidental take permits can be issued. The City of Solana Beach does not need to prepare a subarea plan. 

Coordinated through SANDAG, the MHCP is one of three subregional habitat conservation planning programs in the region that, together, will contribute to a coordinated preserve system for the San Diego region and Southern California. With the preserve area defined in advance of development, builders will know where new homes, employment, and commercial centers can be placed.

When completed, the habitat preservation areas will serve as a key component of the region’s smart growth efforts by preserving habitat and open space and by directing forecasted growth into appropriate areas.

MHCP Documents

The MHCP documents are available below in PDF format. Please note that some of these files are very large in size and may take a significant amount of time to download. If you require additional assistance please contact or (619) 699-1950.

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