We are the San Diego Regional Group of the Power In Nature Coalition

Proctor Valley – Rancho Jamul Ecological Reserve Extension

This project showcases the acquisition of a nearly 1,300-acre area in Proctor Valley, a habitat for endangered species and rare biodiversity that was previously at risk of development. The purchase marks a major conservation triumph, safeguarding threatened wildlife and unique ecosystems.

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About This Project


Who is proposing this project?

Lead Organization: The Nature Conservancy

Website: nature.org/en-us/about-us/where-we-work/united-states/california/

Supporting organizations:

  • California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW)
  • California Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB)
  • United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)


What is proposed?

In a significant triumph for environmental conservation, the acquisition of the Proctor Valley property has prevented the development of over 1,100 homes on approximately 1,291 acres of vital coastal sage scrub habitat. This land, positioned within a critical ecological network in Southern California, represents a cornerstone for the preservation of biodiversity and the enhancement of ecological resilience amidst global changes. The concerted efforts of The Nature Conservancy, alongside state and federal wildlife agencies and other conservation partners, have ensured the protection of this habitat, crucial for numerous threatened species and the ecological integrity of the region.

The Proctor Valley property, nestled within the acquisition boundary of the USFWS San Diego National Wildlife Refuge and adjacent to the CDFW Rancho Jamul Ecological Reserve, is now a key component of a much larger Reserve Refuge Complex conservation area. The conservation of this area is critical due to the presence of endemic species and its highly biodiverse coastal sage scrub habitat. For example, the property acts as a vital preserve for species like the Quino checkerspot butterfly and the Golden Eagle. The acquisition not only safeguards these habitats but also supports the larger goal of creating contiguous, protected landscapes that are essential for wildlife movement and ecosystem health.

This property is located within the San Diego County Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP), a model for regional conservation planning aimed at preserving biodiversity while accommodating controlled development. The protection of the Proctor Valley property corrects a historical allowance of development on this property within the Refuge, ensuring the long-term viability of the MSCP’s approach to habitat and species protection. The project underscores the importance of strategic land conservation in maintaining ecological networks and supporting species survival in the face of developmental pressures.

Both the conservation and strategic value of protecting the Proctor Valley property is far greater than the seemingly small acreage would suggest. Over 35,000 acres have been conserved as part of the MSCP within the Reserve-Refuge Complex since the 1990s through developer set-asides and acquisitions totaling over $150,000,000.Through its connections to previously protected lands such as the Otay Mountain Wilderness Area, the Reserve-Refuge Complex comprises a network of nearly 60,000 acres. This property is in the very center of this network of protection.

Project Location

The property is situated within Proctor Valley in San Diego County, adjacent to the CDFW Rancho Jamul Ecological Reserve and part of the larger USFWS San Diego National Wildlife Refuge.

Why is this project on the 30×30 list?

The acquisition of the Proctor Valley property aligns with the 30×30 initiative’s objectives to conserve biodiversity, enhance climate resilience, and expand natural access for the San Diego community. 

By protecting 1,291 acres of coastal sage scrub habitat, this project safeguards the habitat of rare and endangered species, supporting biodiversity. The land also connects key refuge areas, rather than splitting up natural areas with development. This crucial linkage between habitats is key to maintaining ecosystem health and resilience, allowing species to adapt to environmental changes and threats.

The project contributes to climate resilience by preserving a vast area of coastal sage scrub habitat, which acts as a natural buffer against climate change impacts. This conservation effort enhances the ecosystem’s ability to sequester carbon, regulate local climate, and provide resilience against environmental fluctuations, thereby supporting the broader landscape’s adaptation to changing climatic conditions.

Finally, integrating this land into the existing network of conserved areas enhances public access to nature, offering San Diegans more opportunities to connect with their environment.

How will this project be completed?

The Proctor Valley property faced significant legal hurdles, including litigation between the property seller and the State of California and several nonprofit organizations, such as the Sierra Club and the Endangered Habitats League. The aquisition of the Proctor Valley property was part of the settlement of the litigation.The agreement gave The Nature Conservancy and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife until January 31, 2024, to finish their preparations, gather the necessary funding, and finalize the purchase of the property. If they couldn’t raise the funds and complete the purchase by that date, the seller would have likely received permission, based on the settlement or the outcome of the legal battle, to go ahead with developing the property.

The successful acquisition of the property was a result of collaborative efforts by TNC and CDFW, supported by various public and private funding sources. This included significant financial contributions from the Wildlife Conservation Board, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, TNC, and additional public funds.