Sustainability Planning

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As a division of Planning & Development Services, Sustainability Planning develops and implements plans and programs designed to help communities thrive while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting the region’s unique and diverse natural resources.

From climate action and clean mobility planning, to open space, agricultural, and groundwater resource conservation, the division serves the community and the County’s mission to protect the public’s health and safety, sustain the environment, and improve the quality of life for County residents.

The Sustainability Planning division works closely with agencies, residents, business and environmental groups, and other regional stakeholders to ensure community input shapes the development of plans and programs that center in equity and environmental justice.

The division is comprised of three teams: Sustainability, Conservation, and Sustainable Groundwater Management.


The Sustainability Team manages implementation of the County’s 2018 Climate Action Plan (CAP), which contains a series of measures to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the next 30 years. Working in five sectors – built environment and transportation, energy, water and wastewater, solid waste, and agriculture and conversation – these measures reduce GHG emissions by promoting alternative transportation, creating green jobs, improving public health, diverting waste from landfills, conserving open space, and more. CAP measures are administered through multiple County departments and focus on activities that occur within the unincorporated area of the region, and within County-owned facilities, regardless of location.

The team also leads development of the Climate Action Plan Update, which will culminate in the adoption of a plan that not only will exceed State GHG emissions reductions of 40% below the 1990 level by 2030 and meet a goal of reducing emissions to net zero between 2035-2045, but also centers equity and environmental justice throughout its development process and outcomes.

In addition, the Sustainability Team oversees implementation of County clean mobility programs, including the 2019 Electric Vehicle Roadmap, to increase the number of zero-emission vehicles on the road and improve access to charging infrastructure to provide clean transportation options for all residents.


The Conservation Team develops and implements programs that contribute to the conservation of biological, environmental, and agricultural resources in the unincorporated area. The County’s commitment to the preservation of San Diego's natural resources benefits the environment, our economy, and the communities that we live in.

The Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP) is a regional conservation planning program intended to streamline the endangered species permitting process for development projects, while preserving the unique native habitats and wildlife found within the county.

The Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easement (PACE) Program promotes the long term preservation of agriculture in the county by providing willing agricultural property owners compensation for placing a perpetual easement on their property that limits future uses to agriculture.

Accomplishments and additional project links are available on the County Conservation Projects home page.

Sustainable Groundwater Management

The Sustainable Groundwater Management Team monitors groundwater in the County, evaluates projects for potential impacts to groundwater, and oversees County implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), which provides a framework to regulate groundwater for the first time in California’s history.

Get the latest information on San Diego County Sustainable Groundwater Management.