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Supervisors aquire 425 acres in Pala, Pauma, Rainbow for preserve

SAN DIEGO - The San Diego County Board of Supervisors Tuesday unanimously approved land purchases to increase two nature preserves.

The board approved spending $2.8 million to acquire 425 acres for the Mount Olympus County Preserve in Pala-Pauma and Rainbow and $5.3 million for 190 acres to increase Sweetwater Regional Park in Spring Valley.

The addition will expand the Mount Olympus County Preserve to over 1,200 acres and provide large shrubland habitat for deer, mountain lion and other sensitive species, according to Shauni Lyles, a San Diego County communications specialist.

The Mount Olympus land deal land fits into the county's North County Multiple Species Conservation Plan, and will ``permanently protect its chaparral, wetland and riparian habitats,'' Lyles said.

The county will use a $200,000 grant from the California Habitat Conservation Fund to help purchase the acres from seller Rancho Aruba.

An expanded preserve will give residents more access to outdoor recreation and nature, Lyles said.

The Sweetwater land, purchased from the New Ranch Land Co., will increase the park from 300 to 490 acres. It will help protect Diegan coastal sage scrub habitat and species such as the least Bell's vireo bird, Lyles said.

Increased park space will help the county complete the 11-mile Sweetwater Loop Trail around the Sweetwater Reservoir, Lyles said.

Both purchases were approved as part of the meeting's consent calendar.

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