Yellow Desert Sunflowers and Desert Sand Verbena colorize an area north of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.
Yellow Desert Sunflowers and Desert Sand Verbena colorize an area north of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Photo by Chris Stone

The Board of Supervisors voted 3-0 Wednesday in favor of a resolution calling for better protection of and access to the county’s open spaces in support of biodiversity.

Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer, who was absent Wednesday due to illness, sponsored the resolution.

According to a statement from her office, the resolution also “aims to combat the climate crisis, advance equity by making it easier for all residents to access natural spaces, foster a spirit of ecological stewardship among San Diegans, and incorporate sustainable and purposeful green space into our built environment.”

The resolution “builds on several community partnerships and initiatives maintained by the county that prioritize the preservation of the region’s natural spaces,” according to Lawson-Remer’s office. “It also supports existing initiatives such as the Multiple Species Conservation Program, Native Plant Landscaping Policy and various sustainability initiatives.”

Lawson-Remer said biodiversity “is essential to the region’s quality of life, affecting everything from maintaining a functioning and sustainable food system to promoting clean water, health and economic growth. But the planet is experiencing a biodiversity crisis, with over 1 million species threatened by extinction.”

“The guiding biodiversity vision and goals approved by the county board will help ensure that our region’s communities are more resilient in the coming decades as the impacts from climate change grow more severe,” Lawson-Remer said.

Lawson-Remer said the county is “a biodiversity hotspot,” with more animal and plant species than almost any other county in the contiguous United States.

“The region is host to 1,500 native plant species — with over 25 endemic species that do not exist anywhere else in the world — and provides shelter to more than 200 imperiled species, such as the California gnatcatcher, Stephens’ kangaroo rat and quino checkerspot butterfly,” Lawson-Remer added.

Supervisors approved the resolution on consent as a quorum of three — Joel Anderson, Jim Desmond and Nathan Fletcher — during Wednesday’s meeting, which focuses on land use and environmental issues.

Vice Chairwoman Nora Vargas was attending a California State Association of Counties event and didn’t participate in the regular board meeting.

Vargas’ spokesman said she excused herself from the meeting after making sure there were at least three supervisors present.

During a public comment period, Mary Liesegang, a manager with conservation group Wildcoast, thanked the board for backing the resolution. Liesegang also stressed how important coastal wetlands are in terms of carbon storage and water protection.

City News Service contributed to this article.