Seed 3 frame collage

Native Plant Seed Bank: Sprouting Successful Habitat Restoration

Leave it better than you found it. That’s the motto of our Environmental Services team and the restoration ecologists who support our work. When SDG&E replaces a wood power pole with a steel pole, or a substation is relocated, our Environmental Services team is on the ground before and after to ensure that the natural resources aren’t just maintained but improved.


A few years ago, Senior Environmental Specialist and Restoration Ecologist Marc Doalson recognized there was a shortage of local, native plant seeds available from vendors in the region. Native seeds are important to the success of habitat restoration efforts. The solution was clear – collaborate with AECOM to develop an SDG&E “seed bank”. The seed bank improves the quantity and quality of native plants.


Ramping Up Plant Seed Supply


SDG&E and AECOM lease a portion of the Back Country Land Trust’s Clover Flat property in southeastern San Diego County to grow native plants for seeding, harvesting, sorting and storage. Back Country Land Trust is a nonprofit land conservation organization that works to acquire land in San Diego’s East County and preserve that land in its natural state for future generations.


When our Environmental Services team begins  restoration work, the sites are often found in poor conditions, without the benefit of nutrient-rich soil or irrigation. Using native seeds from the surrounding area, usually within a few miles, helps to ensure that the plants will grow and thrive. Those local seeds, sourced from our own seed bank, make the perfect mix for ensuring a successful site restoration, leaving the site better than we found it.


Collaborating for Future Growth


Recently, we were able to host staff from the San Diego River Park Foundation (SDRPF), who are looking for expertise in native plant propagation techniques. SDG&E and SDRPF collaborate on a variety of environmental enhancements throughout the year, including collecting seeds from native plants on their properties. Perhaps a seed bank local to the San Diego River Park will be sprouting up soon.