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North County Habitat To Be Preserved

More than 70 acres of sensitive habitat in the North County will be preserved, under a joint purchase announced today by the San Diego Association of Governments and county of San Diego.

The agencies paired up to buy 40 acres along Escondido Creek south of San Marcos, and SANDAG purchased 32.5 acres of the Del Mar Mesa Preserve.

The Escondido Creek property, known as Mendocino, was bought for $2.3 million as part of a mitigation plan for freeway projects elsewhere in the county. It's near Sage Hill, a 234-acre parcel acquired previously for the same purpose.

The $2.6 million purchase of Del Mar Mesa Preserve headed off a proposal to build homes at the site, which includes vernal pools, old growth chaparral and oak tree stands.

"Working as a team, we have been able to achieve the SANDAG goal of preserving open space as mitigation for highway and local road construction, while at the same time expanding the county's park system for use by the public," said Jerome Stocks, SANDAG's first vice chairman and a member of the Encinitas City Council.

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