Land Management Services


What you need to know to retain SDHC as your open space habitat manager.

As the owner of a mitigated property needed to be managed by a long-term habitat manager, you may be wondering what steps you should take to retain the services of San Diego Habitat Conservancy as your open space habitat manager.

thorn mintSDHC does have selection criteria when considering mitigation property for management. Primarily, SDHC wants a potential property to be ecologically viable with quality habitat that adds value to regional conservation efforts. If the property is too disturbed, too small, or surrounded by development, SDHC may decline management of that property. We consider: What are the types of habitat included? What is the quality of those habitats? What sensitive species utilize the site? Is the site identified in regional plans as being of high ecological or biological value? Does the site serve as a wildlife corridor between other larger open space areas? Does the site contain an ecosystem of educational or scientific value? Does the site offer a unique outreach, educational, or scientific research opportunity? Answering ‘yes’ to these questions makes a site more desirable for SDHC to manage.

Management Plan

Prior to contacting SDHC about managing your property, we request that you first have a finalized, or near finalized, Habitat Management Plan (HMP), Long-Term Management Plan (LTMP), Resource Management Plan (RMP) or similarly-named plan in place so that SDHC can accurately assess the management needs of the property.

Estimate for Long-term Management

Once finalized, SDHC will use the HMP or similar document to derive the cost estimate for long-term management which will be presented in an Estimate for Long-term Management (ELM). The purpose of the ELM is to identify the tasks and costs associated with the long-term management and maintenance of the property and the endowment to fund those duties. The ELM includes Initial and Capital Tasks and Costs as well as long-term Ongoing Tasks and Costs associated with managing the property and the sensitive resources contained within the property in perpetuity. The cost to prepare the ELM ranges depending on the complexity of the project, project phasing, or proposed funding. Contact SDHC for the cost to prepare an ELM for your property.


The information contained within the ELM is then used to determine the one-time endowment required to ensure the property will be managed in perpetuity. Total financial requirements include the initial costs, the endowment, and the emergency and legal defense fund to assist with unforeseen catastrophic events or to defend legal challenge to the land.sample preserve

Operating Agreement

Once the ELM has been completed and the endowment has been determined, SDHC will draft an Operating Agreement (OA) which is a contract between SDHC and you (the landowner) establishing SDHC as the long-term land manager for the property. Once the OA has been signed by all parties, SDHC has conducted a site inspection to determine that the site is in appropriate condition for transfer (e.g. garbage has been removed, boundary is staked, invasive plants removed), and the total payments have been funded, SDHC will begin active management of your property.


When considering SDHC as your open space manager, there are a few additional things you should consider.

Site Access

SDHC will require the land owner to establish and grant permanent access to parking at one or more access points (dependent upon site size) from the nearest public road to the property site so that SDHC staff can properly perform management responsibilities in perpetuity, including such tasks as removing invasive plants, trash, and other large items.

Conservation Easement/Restrictive Covenant

During preparation of the OA, SDHC will also be considering any conservation easement or restrictive covenant that has been placed on the property. SDHC can also help in the preparation of a conservation easement or restrictive covenant if one has not yet been prepared. If you desire, SDHC may be the grantee to a conservation easement.

CDFW Authorization to Hold Mitigation Land

SDHC is approved by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to hold and manage mitigation lands within Region 5 (South Coast Region) and Region 6 (Inland Deserts Region) pursuant to Government Code Sections 65965-65968. SDHC is awaiting a determination for Region 4 (Central Region).

Statement of Qualifications

Our Statement of Qualifications is available here.

For more specific details regarding management of your property, please feel free to contact:
Don Scoles, Executive Director