REGION — The San Diego Association of Governments’ Board of Directors today awarded $5.6 million for projects that protect native wildlife and plant species, as well as improve active transportation options.
San Diego County jurisdictions and organizations also contributed nearly $3 million in matching funds, resulting in more than $8 million in regional investment.
In total, $2 million was awarded for 19 projects through the TransNet Environmental Mitigation Grant Program Land Management Grant Program.
The western burrowing owl, a species of conservation concern due to habitat loss and fragmentation, and the San Diego Thornmint, a rare, native plant protected under the California Endangered Species Act, will benefit from the environmental projects, according to SANDAG.
Funds also will go toward removal of invasive, non-native plants in the region, which allows native plants to thrive and aids in the prevention of wildfires and floods.
Meanwhile, $3.6 million was awarded to 15 projects through the TransNet Active Transportation Grant Program.
Projects are intended to improve walking and bike opportunities, reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality through the county.
Enhanced bike parking facilities will be built in National City and Del Mar; Solana Beach will see additional buffered bike lanes and landscape medians; and El Cajon will receive safer pedestrian pathways and bike routes.
Grants through the environmental and transportation programs are funded by the TransNet regional half-cent sales tax.