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Restoration project launches with TransNet grant

An extreme home makeover is now under way in Southeast San Diego, thanks to the efforts of a Chollas Creek area nonprofit organization, about 200 local middle school students, an international environmental consulting company and many, many others.

Backed by a $240,000 TransNet grant, the Cactus Wren Restoration Project has been launched to rehabilitate nearly 75 acres of canyonland near Market Street in Encanto. The two-year project will include cleanup, weed abatement, propagation of 21,000 cacti, reseeding several other native plants and wildlife monitoring.

"The grant for the Cactus Wren Restoration Project is part of a bigger environmental mitigation program funded by the TransNet half-cent sales tax in the county," said Gary Gallegos, executive director of the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG). "To mitigate transportation improvements throughout the county, TransNet funds help preserve large parcels of land that are connected and therefore preserve a habitat system."

In the grant received by Groundwork San Diego-Chollas Creek, the goal of the program is to learn more about the coastal cactus wren and improve the quality of the habitat for this small brown and white bird that stays with one mate for life and loves to nest in the prickly cholla cactus.

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