Conservation measures increase tree planting on residential and County land to sequester and store carbon from the atmosphere into the soil. Supporting efforts promote locally grown food and sustainable agricultural practices to conserve water, build soil health, and moderate soil temperatures during extreme heat days, and achieve continued greenhouse gas reductions. Measures in this sector will help the County achieve a reduction of 791 metric tons carbon dioxide equivalent in 2020 and 17,920 in 2030. 

On September 30, 2020, the County of San Diego Board of Supervisors voted to set aside its approval of the County’s 2018 Climate Action Plan (2018 CAP) and related actions because the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (2018 CAP SEIR) was found to be out of compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). In response to this Board action, staff are preparing a Climate Action Plan Update (CAP Update) to revise the 2018 CAP and correct the items identified by the Court within the Final 2018 CAP SEIR that were not compliant. The 2018 CAP and EIR are being revised in partnership with residents, and business and environmental groups. The County continues implementing sustainability measures to effectively reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) as part of its ongoing commitment to the environment. The court ruling struck down part of the 2018 CAP’s EIR but did not find fault with its 26 GHG reduction measures. Learn more about the CAP Update.


Strategy A-1 – Support Conversion of Agricultural Equipment to Alternative Fuels

Strategy A-2 – Increase Carbon Sequestration


While agriculture is a major contributor to the local economy, it contributes 5% of the unincorporated county’s total greenhouse gas emissions from livestock, application of fertilizer, and the use of petroleum- or diesel-powered equipment. To help address greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector, the Climate Action Plan includes measures that focus on replacing older agricultural equipment with clean, efficient alternatives to lower emissions, improve air quality, and save money for farmers.


  • 3,836 trees were planted by the County Department of Parks and Recreation in 2021, for a total of 26,116 trees since 2015
  • 12 tractors were replaced under the San Diego County Air Pollution Control District’s Clean Air Campaign Program in 2021
  • Adopted updates in 2020 to the County's Landscaping Ordinance to increase residential tree planting


  • In 2022, the County received a National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Award (NACo Category: County Resiliency) for the Landscaping Ordinance Update. Adopted in 2020, updates to the Landscaping Ordinance reduce outdoor water use and increase residential tree planting to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, conserve natural resources and improve water quality. Implementation of the amended ordinance will reduce outdoor water use by 40% from 2014 levels and require two trees to be planted for each new single-family residence.
  • In 2021, the County received a NACo Achievement Award (NACo Category: Parks and Recreation) for Estrella Park, a 6.6-acre park located in the Valle de Oro community. Undeveloped since 1977, the park now provides unique recreational opportunities within walking distance to nearby residents. The proximity to several schools and the Spring Valley Teen Center, combined with the natural wetland, makes Estrella Park an ideal park for the County’s nature interpretive programs, wildlife observation, watershed protection programs and more.
  • In 2020, the County received a NACo Achievement Award (NACo Category: Parks and Recreation) for the Santa Ysabel Nature Center located in the oak woodland and native grassland habitat in the Santa Ysabel Nature Preserve. The Nature Center, opened on Dec. 14, 2020, is a 6,000-square-foot LEED Gold and Zero Net Energy facility that serves visitors and backcountry nature enthusiasts who wish to learn about the ecology and natural history of the area.