BACK COUNTRY LAND TRUST GETS AUTHORIZATION TO OVERSEE MITIGATION LANDS

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East County News Service

February 1, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) — Founded in 1990, the Back Country Land Trust (BCLT) began working with the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) and the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) in 2009 to protect lands in the Long Potrero Valley, located in the historic “Las Californias” region in the south-easternmost part of San Diego County.

Most recently, following a detailed review of BCLT's land management qualifications, CDFW has approved its certification of BCLT as qualified to "hold and manage mitigation lands in San Diego County." This unique state endorsement considerably bolsters BCLT's capabilities for land conservation in eastern San Diego County.

BCLT's state certification to own and manage official mitigation lands is a unique, powerful strength to the organization, enabling it partner with exceptional state, federal, military and private organizations in land conservation across San Diego's East County. With state and federal grants plus private support, along with matching contributions from BCLT, we’ve now secured the southern 600 acres of the Long Potrero Balley, generally north of Potrero Valley Road and west of Harris Ranch Road.

Currently, BCLT is under contract with San Diego Gas & Electric (SDGE) to manage the 1,200 northern acres, which are deemed as "official mitigation lands" by the Wildlife Agencies. It is anticipated that as a consequence SDGE will consider conveying the ownership of its 1,200 acres to BCLT. BCLT also owns 320 acres in the adjacent Round Potrero Valley.

BCLT has also partnered with state and federal wildlife agencies, the Trust for Public Land (TPL) and the U.S. Navy in conservation projects in the La Posta area, just east of Campo. These projects are intended to enhance public safety in and around Navy SEALs training facilities in that area by “land buffering;” that is, by removing conflicts between private, public and military land uses, while concurrently conserving exceptional biological resources. The U.S. Department of Defense's Readiness &

The Environmental Protection Integration Program (REPI) provides funding for such work.

In partnership with these organizations, BCLT already owns and manages 310 acres in La Posta and is in process of working with its partners on securing another 1,600 contiguous acres of open-space land for conservation.

For more information visit BCLT's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/BackCountryLandTrust.

 


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