SAN DIEGO, December 11, 2013 – San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and the U.S. Forest Service have partnered to preserve and protect a 66-acre parcel known as Descanso Junction in the Cleveland National Forest. The land borders a one-mile stretch of Highway 79 on the western slope of Guatay Mountain. It protects a part of the upper Sweetwater River watershed, the largest of three local watersheds.
The acquisition of the Descanso Junction property also preserves and protects a stand of rare Engelmann oaks. Engelmann oaks grow in the mountain foothills of southern California and northern Baja California, Mexico, and are one of the rarest tree-oak species in the United States.
“We are excited to work with the U.S. Forest Service to protect land that helps preserve one of San Diego’s critical watershed ecosystems,” said J. Chris Baker, senior vice president, strategic planning and technology, SDG&E. “The addition of Descanso Junction is a vital part of our land conservation efforts that will forever preserve more than 11,000 acres of critical ecosystems throughout San Diego and Imperial County.”
“The addition of the Descanso Junction parcel helps maintain open space and visual qualities on the Cleveland National Forest. SDG&E worked closely with us to acquire this parcel as public land for the benefit of future generations,” said William Metz, Forest Supervisor, Cleveland National Forest-U.S. Forest Service.
The land donation is among more than a dozen properties that SDG&E is preserving forever to offset impacts on scenic quality, sensitive vegetation and listed species as set forth by the approved Sunrise Powerlink Habitat Acquisition Plan and Habitat Management Plan. SDG&E will eventually preserve more than 11,000 acres – an area 68 times bigger than Disneyland – having protected more than 10 times the space its transmission line construction physically disturbed. The project’s nearly 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 861,000 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. Connect with SDG&E’s Customer Contact Center at 800-411-7343, onTwitter (@SDGE) and Facebook.
(All photos Courtesy SDG&E)