City buys 25 acres to expand wildlife conservation area in Mission Trails Park

Mission Trails Regional Park includes over 8,000 acres of natural and developed recreation areas.
Mission Trails Regional Park includes over 8,000 acres of natural and developed recreation areas. Photo by Chris Stone

San Diego recently acquired 25 acres of land for $773,500 to add to the preserved wildlife areas of Mission Trails Regional Park, it was announced Thursday.

The sale is part of the multi-species conservation program and aims to protect the Diegan Coastal Sage Scrub and some native grassland habitats on the land. According to a statement from the city, staff also believe there is a strong potential for the federally endangered California Gnatcatcher bird to be present on the property.

“Conserving this property contributes to a critical web of habitats and open space that protects the plants, animals and ecosystems that ultimately improve our quality of life,” said San Diego Planning Director Heidi Vonblum. “It is our responsibility to protect this land not only for ourselves, but for the generations that will come after us.”

The acquired land is part of the East Elliot Community Planning Area, located just west of Santee, north of Mast Boulevard and east of Republic Services Sycamore Landfill. The city bought the land from a private seller with money from the Habitat Acquisition Fund – which is used to purchase land identified and targeted for conservation.

As a regional conservation effort, the Multi-Species Conservation Program spans a 900 square mile area in southwestern San Diego County and multiple jurisdictions participate in the program, including the city.

San Diego developed its own specific plan for the MSCP, called the sub-area plan, which the city council adopted in 1997.

The MSCP sub-area plan identified 52,727 acres of land deemed essential for the continued conservation of San Diego’s unique biodiversity. With this recent purchase, the city has retained approximately 98% of this land – intended to provide long-term protection for the 85 plants and animals covered by the MSCP.

Updated 4:15 p.m. Aug 4, 2022

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