San Diego Gas & Electric announced Wednesday that it established a $2 million endowment fund to benefit operations and environmental education programs at the Living Coast Discovery Center on San Diego Bay.

The endowment was a condition of the California Coastal Commission’s approval of relocating a power plant in the South Bay.

SDG&E said it proposed the fund as a part of the substation’s relocation about a half-mile away from its current bayfront site, making new waterfront land available to the Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan.

“This is an exciting day for Living Coast and the communities of South Bay San Diego,” said Frank Urtasun, SDG&E’s regional vice president of external relations. “Living Coast is a unique place where families can learn about our coastal species in the middle of a protected wetland.”

The nonprofit center, on the Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge at the south end of the bay, offers exhibits on animals and birds that live in the area, native plant gardens and walking trails.

“Though the Living Coast faced financial hardship, over the last 14 months we have made significant progress toward financial sustainability much in thanks to strong community partners like SDG&E, our largest corporate supporter,” said Ben Vallejos, executive director of Living Coast.

The long-term endowment fund, managed by The San Diego Foundation, is expected to provide nearly $90,000 a year to Living Coast, depending on market conditions.

—City News

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