The San Diego region is one of the most beautiful and biodiverse areas in the United States and a leader in environmental conservation. We’re committed to preserving the unique character of our region through strategies and programs that mitigate—or minimize—the impact of SANDAG’s regional transportation projects. One strategy is our partnership with local, state, and federal agencies to preserve half the region (1.4 million acres) as permanent open space by 2050.
SANDAG’s TransNet Environmental Mitigation Program (EMP) is our key strategy to protecting, preserving, and restoring native habitats that may be disturbed by construction of local and regional transportation projects. Over the past decade, funded by the TransNet half-cent regional sales tax, we’ve acquired or helped restore over 40 sites totaling 9,215 acres, with a total value of $164 million, through this program. The EMP is implemented by the Regional Habitat Conservation Taskforce.
As an example, TransNet EMP land purchases along the State Route 76 corridor were combined with acquisitions by other agencies to create a continuous wildlife corridor spanning thousands of acres along the San Luis Rey River and its tributaries.
TransNet EMP also funds regional management and monitoring programs to maintain the biological health of conserved habitat lands and sensitive species. Since 2004, the EMP has contributed more than $46.5 million to coordinate an approach to management and biological monitoring of conserved lands in San Diego County. The effort includes a competitive land management grant program, and funding of regional management and biological monitoring, which provides land managers with the necessary tools and resources to manage open space lands to support the continued existence of rare and sensitive plant and animal species and their habitats.