Gnatcatcher Nest
(Gnatcatchers © Robb Hirsch)

What's New
in NCCP?

  • New Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians. A Field Guide to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Coastal Southern California, authored by Robert N. Risher and Ted J. Case and sponsored by the Biological Resources of the U.S. Geological Survey, has been made available on-line by the California Department of Fish and Game.


  • NCCP General Process Guidelines. Natural Community Conservation Planning General Process Guidelines were approved by the Department of Fish and Game on January 22, 1998. These guidelines, adopted pursuant to Section 2825 of the Fish and Game Code for the general application of the NCCP Act, are designed to help planners provide for regional protection and perpetuation of biological diversity, meet NCCP regulatory requirements and to allow for flexibility in plan development. Further guidelines may be adopted in the future for the application of the NCCP Act to specific ecosystems or regions of the state.


  • County of San Diego MSCP Subarea Plan. On October 22, the County of San Diego Board of Supervisors approved the Subarea Plan for the Multiple Species Conservation Program. The subarea encompasses 252,132 acres (184,248 acres is habitat), of which 101,268 acres are proposed to be conserved.


  • Rancho Jamul, a 4,800 acre private ranch in San Diego County, has been acquired by the Trust for Public Lands. Protection of Rancho Jamul will contribute to preserving a major open space area within the Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP) area.


  • San Miguel Conservation Bank. The Implementing Agreement was signed for this conservation bank in San Diego County. The establishment of the bank and accompanying 500 acre acquisition will ensure that the entire northern portion of San Miguel Ranch (1,800+ acres) is conserved in permanent open space. These lands will become part of the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge.

  • Wetlands Permitting Coordination. Wetlands permitting coordination between the City of San Diego, California Department of Fish and Game, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been initiated to streamline the wetlands permitting process. Orange County is also seeking to streamline wetlands permitting. Both streamlining programs are seeking permit assurances for projects that are evaluated, conform to, and mitigate in accordance with, a set of survey protocols, guidelines, etc.


  • Checklist for Conservation Bank Implementing Agreements. A Department of Fish and Game Checklist for Conservation Bank Implementing Agreements has been finalized. The checklist will be used by wildlife agencies, landowners, and consultants to streamline the establishment of conservation banks.


    gnatcatcher Press Releases:

  • Department of Fish and Game Seeks Comment on NCCP Guidelines, 5/30/97


  • Improving Habitat Conservation Planning: The NCCP Model, 4/22/97


  • HCPs: Planning Strategy Offers Incentives to Conserve Habitat; From the California Biodiversity News, Spring 1997


  • New York Times Calls San Diego Habitat Conservation Plan "Most Ambitious Effort Ever Undertaken, 3/24/97


  • New York Times Reports on Approval of Historic Conservation Plan by San Diego City Council, 3/20/97


  • Los Angeles Times Calls San Diego's Multiple Species Conservation Program "Broadest Conservation Plan in U.S.", 3/19/97


  • Wilson Urges San Diego City Council to Adopt the Multiple Species Conservation Program, 3/18/97


  • State Money for Habitat Planning Awarded to 3 Southern California Counties, 3/12/97


  • NCCP Program in Southern California to Receive Additional $2 Million in Federal Funding, 2/24/97


  • Ehrlichs' New Book Applauds NCCP Habitat Conservation Program, 2/18/97


  • 1996 Press Archive


  • 1995 Press Archive

    horned lizard

    • .

    NCCP Update


    Status of NCCP Planning Efforts:
    (See also Catalogue of Conservation Banks)

    San Diego Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP). (Approved). In December 1996, the Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approved a habitat plan that encompasses 582,000 acres and establishes a 172,000 acre preserve system in southwestern San Diego County. This subregional plan covers 85 species of plants and animals and 23 vegetation types. The MSCP area encompasses the following (11) planning Subareas in various stages of plan development. Other jurisdictions within the MSCP Subregion include Imperial Beach, Lemon Grove, and National City. These cities have not initiated the development of subarea plans. Approved Subarea Plans to date include the Poway Subarea Plan and the City of San Diego Subarea Plan.

      City of Chula Vista MSCP Subarea Plan. This subarea covers approximately 52,476 acres, 44 percent of which is presently located within the City's municipal boundaries. The remaining acres are located in the unincorporated area of San Diego County. This approach has been used in anticipation of impending annexation of large segments of Otay Ranch and San Miguel Ranch into the City. The Plan will preserve an approximate 17,207 total acres.

      City of Coronado MSCP Subarea Plan. The plan addresses coastal lands and biological communities along the Silver Strand Peninsula. Roughly 250 acres will be preserved. The City Council adopted the Coronado Subarea Plan in July 1995.

      City of Del Mar MSCP Subarea Plan. The plan focuses on six areas with significant resources in the mostly built-out city. The primary consideration is the southern area of the city, which includes a portion of the San Dieguito Lagoon.

      City of El Cajon MSCP Subarea Plan. A draft subarea plan is in preparation, with plan completion anticipated in late 1997.

      City of La Mesa MSCP Subarea Plan. The City of La Mesa has prepared a Habitat Conservation Plan which is awaiting approval by the resource agencies. La Mesa's remaining habitat area consists largely of coastal sage scrub, however all losses will be mitigated elsewhere within the MSCP Subregion.

      City of Poway MSCP Subarea Plan. (Approved). In July 1996, the City of Poway finalized its multi-species HCP/NCCP Subarea Plan, which provides incidental take coverage for 43 species of plants and animals. The City of Poway encompasses 25,000 acres and the plan establishes a 13,300 acre Mitigation Area where habitat conservation will be emphasized. A minimum of 78% of habitat within this Mitigation Area will be conserved.

      City of San Diego MSCP Subarea Plan. (Approved) . This approved subarea plan encompasses 206,124 acres within the MSCP Subregion. The City's "Multiple Habitat Planning Area" (MHPA) is approximately 56,831 acres. Approximately 90% (52,012 acres)of the MHPA lands will be preserved for biological purposes.

      City of Santee MSCP Subarea Plan. This subarea encompasses 10,650 acres of which 57 percent is developed and 43 percent (4,600 acres) is vacant. The subarea plan seeks to conserve at least 2,300 acres. Almost all of the acres are composed of biological core areas.

      County of San Diego MSCP Subarea Plan. (Approved). The County subarea is located in the eastern part of the MSCP Subregion. About 184,000 acres provide habitat for native plants and animals. Throughout the subarea, almost 63,000 acres of the total conservation goal (approximately 101,268 acres) are already conserved or agreement has been reached on their future conservation. The County Subarea Plan was approved by the Board of Supervisors on October 22, 1997.

      North County MSCP Subarea Plan. County of San Diego lands, formerly within the MHCP area, have been redefined as the North County Subarea of the San Diego MSCP and will be amended into the MSCP. A timeline for its preparation has not yet been developed.

      Otay Water District MSCP Subarea Plan. The Otay Water District is preparing revisions to its Subarea Plan and developing a draft Implementing Agreement for agency review. The District maintains a biological reserve of 230 acres known as the San Miguel Habitat Management Area, which serves as a mitigation bank for District project impacts. Conserved lands will function as components of the MSCP preserve system.

    San Diego Multiple Habitat Conservation Program (MHCP). An initial Draft Subregional Plan for the northwestern portion of the County (cities of Carslbad, Encinitas, Escondido, Oceanside, San Marcos, Solana Beach and Vista), is aniticipated by the end of 1997.

      City of Carsbad MHCP Subarea Plan. Participants are currently working on the open space/preserve design. Completion of the subarea plan is anticipated in early 1998.

      City of Encinitas MHCP Subarea Plan. The City is delineating a preliminary preserve planning area and developing a subarea plan.

      City of Escondido MHCP Subarea Plan. The City approved the acquisition of the 3,058 acre Daley Ranch, which will become the cornerstone open space conservation land within the City. A preliminary subarea plan is being prepared.

      City of Oceanside MHCP Subarea Plan. The City continues to prepare its Subarea Plan and preliminary preserve planning area.

      City of San Marcos MHCP Subarea Plan. The City has completed its assessment of habitat lands and is delineating its preliminary preserve planning area.

      City of Vista MHCP Subarea Plan. The City is revising the preliminary preserve planning area and developing its subarea plan.

    County of San Diego Multiple Habitat Conservation and Open Space Program (MHCOSP). The County of San Diego has deferred planning on this subregion until it completes its MSCP Subregional Plan and North County Subarea Plan ammendment.

    Joint Water Agencies Subregional Plan. The JWA Subregional Plan describes how certain water districts in San Diego County will manage their lands to conserve natural habitats and species while continuing to provide their mandated water services. The subregional plan currently serves as an umbrella document for the subarea plans of four water districts: Helix Water District, Padre Dam Municipal Water District, Sweetwater Authority, and Santa Fe Irrigation District.

    San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) Company Subregional Plan. (Approved). The NCCP Plan for SDG&E, a linear NCCP extending from southern Orange County south to the Mexican border, was the first plan approved in San Diego County (1995). The project covers 110 plant and animal species and emphasizes avoidance of impacts. The plan establishes mitigation requirements, which may include revegetation or use of up to 240 acres of mitigation credits set aside in several land parcels purchased by SDG&E as mitigation banks. SDG&E's properties and easements play an important role in the NCCP Region in providing habitat connectivity in areas where little natural habitat remains.

    Orange County Central-Coastal NCCP Subregional Plan. (Approved). This subregional NCCP, approved in July 1996, establishes a 37,380 acre reserve system that includes significant areas of 12 major habitat types and covers 39 sensitive plant and animal species.

    Orange County Southern Subregion. Development of a plan for southern Orange County is underway.

    Orange County Northern Subregion. A Chevron USA 4(d) permit concurrence letter was issued by the wildlife agencies that will allow Chevron to complete oil field abandonment operations. The permit also commits Chevron to setting aside and managing a 28 acre preserve area for California gnatcatchers and funding cowbird control efforts.

    Western Riverside County Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan (MSHCP). Nine jurisdictions, including the County of Riverside, prepared a Multiple Species HCP (MSHCP) Planning Agreement that is expected to be fully signed in 1997. The MSHCP, in development by the Riverside County Habitat Conservation Agency (RCHCA),will build upon the previously approved Stephens' kangaroo rat Habitat Conservation Plan (SKR HCP). The SKR HCP core area reserves include habitats such as riparian, oak woodland, and 15,000 acres of coastal sage scrub. The RCHCA is establishing a scientific advisory group to assist in providing scientific information to the RCHCA.

    San Bernardino Valley-wide Multi Species Habitat Conservation Plan (MSHCP). The County of San Bernardino and 12 other jurisdictions approved an MSHCP Planning Agreement for the western portion of the County in July 1996 and are beginning plan preparation. Completion of a final NCCP Subregional plan is anticipated in 1998.

    Palos Verdes Peninsula Subregional Plan. The City of Rancho Palos Verdes has signed a Planning Agreement that will address most of the coastal sage scrub habitat on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. A final plan is anticipated to be completed in 1998.


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