This letter also appears in our 13th annual Corporate Sustainability Report.
Across the Sempra Energy family of companies, we are committed to integrating biodiversity preservation and enhancement considerations into our planning and decision-making processes. This commitment is underpinned by our biodiversity policy, which describes how we integrate biodiversity considerations into the planning, permitting, construction and operation of our infrastructure.
Partnering to Protect Biodiversity
We partner with local groups, government agencies, academia and nongovernmental organizations at all stages of project development and operation to help ensure we avoid or minimize impacts to local wildlife. This outreach includes working with local partners including the San Diego Audubon Society, San Diego Zoo, Ventura Land Trust, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León and many others.
Our biodiversity efforts include robust avian protection programs, vegetation management and habitat enhancement and restoration and remediation. Our biodiversity targets vary by project and include:
- No net loss of wetlands and waters of the U.S., including coastal wetlands.
- No net loss of sensitive upland vegetation communities, habitats and rare plants.
- Net improvement in ecological condition and habitat values for any sensitive habitats that have been temporarily impacted by our projects or operations.
- Net improvement in habitat values for the coastal California gnatcatcher, least Bell’s vireo, southwestern willow flycatcher, arroyo toad, peninsular bighorn sheep and many other listed species, by establishing permanently protected habitat preserve(s) and enhancing the existing habitat for the species.
- Net benefit to state-listed threatened or endangered species.
- Net benefit to federally listed threatened or endangered species.
Conservation in Action at SDG&E
One example of our approach to environmental compliance and stewardship comes from SDG&E. For more than 25 years, SDG&E has helped ensure compliance with endangered species regulations during its activities through its Subregional Natural Community Conservation Plan and Habitat Conservation Plan (collectively, the Subregional Plan).
The Subregional Plan was ultimately approved in 1995 and SDG&E has been successfully operating under it since its issuance. The Subregional Plan has helped create company awareness about constructing and operating facilities in a way that avoids or minimizes impacts to the natural communities and wildlife within the San Diego region and has defined how mitigation would be pursued for any unavoidable impacts.
As we build and maintain critical energy infrastructure in North America, we remain committed to integrating biodiversity preservation and enhancement considerations into our planning and decision-making processes.
In 2020, all SDG&E's projects, facilities, and operations and maintenance activities were reviewed for potential impacts to state and federally listed endangered, threatened and candidate species. Potential direct or indirect impacts to the species or their habitats were:
- Avoided or minimized through operational protocols outlined in the SDG&E Subregional Plan;
- Mitigated through project-specific mitigation measures or applicant proposed measures approved by the CPUC and other regulatory agencies; and/or
- Mitigated through post-construction mitigation measures as outlined in the plans and permits approved by the regulatory and wildlife agencies for those projects, facilities and/or operations and maintenance activities.
As a result of SDG&E’s conservation strategy, SDG&E’s activities in 2020 resulted in no documented "take" of any species listed under either the state or federal Endangered Species Act.