Twenty-Four Years of Preserving Species and Habitats in South County


One of the tools that the County of San Diego uses to preserve the region’s unique, native habitats and wildlife biodiversity is the Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP).

Finalized in 1998, the City of San Diego, portions of the unincorporated county, and ten additional city jurisdictions make up the San Diego MSCP Plan Area.

The County Subarea Plan (South County Plan) protects and connects the most valuable biological habitats in the southern portion of the unincorporated county, while allowing development to occur in less sensitive areas. The goal of the South County Plan is to assemble a 98,379-acre Preserve that supports 85 plant and animal species covered by the plan.

MapSouth County MSCP

As of December 31, 2021, the South County Plan preserved 79,976 acres, or 81% of the Preserve goal. See all of the 2021-year highlights in the South County Plan 2021 Annual Report and track annual progress here. The County works with many partners to make sure this program is successful, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, local governments, local non-profits, and other land managers in the region.

Over the past 24 years of MSCP implementation, the County’s efforts have focused on creating a regional preserve through land acquisitions and project mitigation, management and monitoring of those lands, and spreading awareness through environmental education.

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The Department of Parks and Recreation acquires County preserve lands, managing and monitoring approximately 44,200 acres within the unincorporated area. Planning & Development Services ensures private development projects comply with the MSCP and approved Resource Management Plans by reviewing the annual reports of 38 private preserves.

The County is actively working on the North County Multiple Species Conservation Plan (North County Plan), expanding the County’s MSCP efforts into the northern portion of the unincorporated county.

To learn more or subscribe to updates on the MSCP, visit our website.