SAN DIEGO, July 17, 2012 – San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and the U.S. Forest Service have collaborated to preserve and protect 266 acres of sensitive habitat immediately adjacent to Cedar Creek Falls in the San Diego River watershed. The land is now National Forest System land donated by SDG&E.
This critical watershed habitat is home to 26 sensitive or endangered wildlife species and twice as many sensitive to endangered plant species. Species include the endangered arroyo toad which relies on sandy streambeds and chaparral as well as the Least Bell’s vireo, a migratory songbird that nests in the poison oak and other brush that grows in the San Diego River watershed.
“We are pleased to have worked with the U.S. Forest Service to preserve this vital watershed property that is home to such a wide variety of native plants and wildlife,” said Pam Fair, SDG&E vice president, environmental and support services and chief environmental officer. "This is an integral part of our land conservation efforts that will forever preserve more than 10,800 acres of vital ecosystems for several threatened and endangered species; and create beautiful open space preserves for the people of San Diego and Imperial County to enjoy for generations to come."
“With the inclusion of these 266 acres into the Cleveland National Forest today, we are able to further resource protection and public use, as well as help to meet the present and future needs of the American people,” said Will Metz, supervisor of the Cleveland National Forest. Land donations are an important tool for the Forest Service to meet its mission of protecting and preserving natural resources. These donations optimize National Forest System landownership patterns and are consistent with the Cleveland National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan. “SDG&E worked closely with us to identify and acquire this piece of previously privately owned land, and we are pleased it is now public land,” added Metz.
This donation is the first of more than a dozen environmentally-significant properties that SDG&E will be preserving forever to offset impacts on sensitive vegetation and listed species as set forth by the approved Sunrise Powerlink Habitat Acquisition Plan and Habitat Management Plan. Ultimately, SDG&E will preserve more than 10,800 acres having impacted fewer than 800 acres constructing the new transmission line. The project’s close to 500 acres of temporary impacts will be fully restored to pre-impact conditions.
SDG&E is a regulated public utility that provides safe and reliable energy service to 3.4 million consumers through 1.4 million electric meters and more than 850,000 natural gas meters in San Diego and southern Orange counties. The utility’s area spans 4,100 square miles. SDG&E is committed to creating ways to help customers save energy and money every day. SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego.