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North County Conservation Plan Takes Big Step

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Draft Multiple Species Conservation Plan Released for Public Review

Feb. 19, 2009

The County's efforts to create a plan to let development and environmental preservation live comfortably side-by-side in North County took a big step forward today when the Department of Planning and Land Use released its first draft North County Multiple Species Conservation Plan (MSCP) for public comment.

"We're very pleased to reach this milestone on this very important program," said Eric Gibson, director of the Department of Planning and Land Use.

The public, stakeholders and interested group swill have 45 days to submit comments. A second draft will be sent out with the plan's Environmental Impact Report this fall. The final North County plan is expected to be brought to County Supervisors for approval by the end of 2010. The plan is expected to provide linked habitat for 63 plant and animal species in a 294,849-acre area in North County stretching from Camp Pendleton and the Riverside County line to Ramona.

Multiple Species Conservation Plans are important because they protect the environment while streamlining development. San Diego County is home to thousands of rare, threatened and endangered species, as well as a growing human population. To strike a balance, habitat must be conserved as building occurs. The MSCP, using state and federal endangered species acts and the Natural Communities Conservation Planning Act, aims to protect San Diego County's environmental heritage by creating linked blocks of habitat throughout the unincorporated county. The linkages create wildlife corridors, allowing animals such as deer and bobcats to move safely from one area to another. The MSCP also streamlines development by creating a plan for how habitat will be set aside to allow building.

The public can see the plan and find out how to submit comments about it under the "New" heading on the County's MSCP Web site.