Climate Change

snowy landscape shows fallen Joshua tree, photo by Casey Kiernan
Photo by Casey Kiernan

The Desert Region including the Morongo Basin is critical to climate change challenges in California. “The California Desert’s Role in 30X30: Carbon Sequestration and Biodiversityis a comprehensive explanation of the important role the Desert Region plays in carbon sequestration and biodiversity as part of California’s goal of “conserving and protecting 30% of California’s lands and coastal waters by 2030.” The report’s recommendation is: “intact desert lands need to be left undisturbed.” MBCA is proud that Board members Pat Flanagan and Arch McCulloch were members of the team producing this critically important study.

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    MBCA Joins 21 Groups to Correct Inaccurate Desert Land Classification in California’s Climate Smart Strategy

    Posted by · March 04, 2024 2:09 PM
    In a recent update to California’s Natural and Working Lands Climate Smart Strategy, a group of 22 organizations including MBCA have replied to the state’s request for comment with serious concerns about how desert lands are inappropriately classified as “Sparsely Vegetated Lands.” This inaccurate classification greatly reduces the carbon sequestration and other critical values gained by conserving desert lands in the state’s response to climate change. Our February 27 letter clearly states and scientifically corroborates four arguments for separating deserts from the “sparsely vegetated” designation. The letter was written by the Inland Desert Working Group (IDWG), which has been “the voice of the desert” in the ongoing state activities seeking to protect and conserve 30% of California’s lands by 2030. The IDWG also recently authored the comprehensive report The California Desert’s Role in 30X30: Carbon Sequestration and Biodiversity.  The California Natural Resources Agency website also contains a great deal of background and links to videos about the Climate Smart Strategy.
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    Report Outlines Critical Role of Desert Region in 30x30 Effort

    Posted by · February 07, 2024 4:06 PM
    The report, “The California Desert’s Role in 30X30: Carbon Sequestration and Biodiversity” presents a comprehensive explanation of the vital role the Desert Region plays in carbon sequestration and biodiversity as part of California’s goal of “conserving and protecting 30% of California’s lands and coastal waters by 2030.” The report’s recommendation is: “intact desert lands need to be left undisturbed.” MBCA is proud that Board members Pat Flanagan and Arch McCulloch were members of the team producing this critically important study.
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    MBCA Comments at County Land Use Services Open House

    Posted by · August 31, 2023 6:57 PM
    At the County Land Use Services Open House held in Joshua Tree on August 30, MBCA's President Steve Bardwell talked at some length with Mark Wardlaw, new Director of the department. MBCA sent a followup letter outlining concerns about land use issues that affect the Morongo Basin's unincorporated communities particularly. The letter includes some specific suggestions and summarizes our concerns related to water issues, Community Action Guides, climate change, Short-Term Rental ordinances, and a number of other topics.   
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    Recommendation for Carbon Sequestration in the California Desert

    Posted by · August 22, 2023 10:54 AM
    With extensive research support, the Inland Deserts Working Group (IDWG) that is connected with the California Natural Resources 30x30 planning process has produced Nature Based Solutions - Desert Sector, a report to the state recommending "conserving 100% of undisturbed non-military public lands annually based on current levels, starting in 2024." Two MBCA Board members on the IDWG believe that this document is a definitive report proving the high value of the undisturbed desert in achieving California's climate change goals. 
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    Eblast September 24, 2022

    Posted by · September 24, 2022 2:14 PM
    MBCA_Sticker_Final_Transparent.png
    • Short Term Rentals and Housing Element Update
    • Workshop and Webinar: Joshua Trees and Climate Change
    • Sienna Solar 2
     
     
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    MBCA Joins Support for AB 1757, Setting Natural Carbon Sequestration Targets

    Posted by · September 19, 2022 2:45 PM

    MBCA joined more than 30 organizations and companies signing a letter in support of California AB 1757, a bill to aid California’s efforts to deal with climate change by setting targets to remove carbon from the atmosphere through natural carbon sequestration.  Setting ambitious natural carbon removal targets is both crucial and achievable,” states the letter. The bill is in the Governor’s hands for signing as of this writing.

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    MBCA Directors Work to Improve California's 30x30 Plan

    Posted by · August 26, 2022 3:31 PM

    Four MBCA board members continue to be involved in the planning and response for California’s 30x30 Project. The project was developed from Governor Newsom’s 2020 Executive Order N-82-20 which establishes a state goal of conserving 30% of California’s lands and coastal waters by 2030.

    Arch McCulloch, Brian Hammer, Pat Flanagan and Gary Stiler are most concerned about some challenges in recognizing the importance and contours of the desert within the plan. "Our biggest concern is they don't acknowledge the desert as a whole, they only acknowledge a piece of it. Nor does the state acknowledge that the CA Desert sequesters 10% of the state's carbon. We want them to explore what's there," reports Flanagan.

    In a February 2022 letter co-signed by MBCA, desert groups complained about "ecological fragmentation of the California desert" in an earlier version of the 30x30 plan, as Death Valley was considered part of the Sierra Nevada area and Anza Borrego was attached to the San Diego section. This issue was not corrected in the final plan (PDF)

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    California and 30x30

    What is 30 by 30 and what does MBCA have to do with it?

    The “30 by 30” effort began as an international movement to set aside 30 percent of the earth’s land area to preserve wildlife habitat and protect against climate change. It also recognizes the rights, stewardship, and experience of indigenous peoples in managing natural resources. It prioritizes ensuring that the benefits of cleaner lands, waters, and air are shared by all.

    California is the first in the nation to commit to protecting 30% of our lands and waters by 2030 (Gavin Newsom executive order October 2020).  In January of 2021 the Biden administration issued an Executive Order on tackling the climate crisis at home and abroad and committed the United States to 30x30.  

    Why is this important? "Because our land and waters contain the planet’s biodiversity — from the smallest organisms to the largest predators. When species are diminished, it affects whole ecosystems, and when ecosystems suffer, their ability to provide clean water, clean air, pollination and the many other functions we rely on is vastly reduced," according to Noelle Chambers, vice president of conservation for Peninsula Open Space Trust.

    Four MBCA board members were involved in the planning and response for 30x30: Arch McCulloch, Brian Hammer, Pat Flanagan and Gary Stiler. They share that there were some challenges in recognizing the importance and contours of the desert. "Our biggest concern is they don't acknowledge the desert as a whole, they only acknowledge a piece of it. Nor does the state acknowledge that the CA Desert sequesters 10% of the state's carbon. We want them to explore what's there," reports Flanagan. 

    In a February 2022 letter co-signed by MBCA, desert groups complained about "ecological fragmentation of the California desert", as Death Valley was considered part of the Sierra Nevada area and Anza Borrego was attached to the San Diego section. This issue was not corrected in the final plan (PDF)

     

    (Word Cloud graphic from 30x30 California)

     

     

     

     

     

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    Decision on Listing Joshua Trees as Threatened is Postponed

    Posted by · June 17, 2022 11:45 AM
    At their June 15 meeting, the four members of the California Fish and Game Commission were split on decisions relating to the status of the Western Joshua tree. Their tie votes of 2-2 applied both to a motion to list the tree as threatened and a motion to continue the decision to the August meeting, with a recommendation to develop a recovery and conservation plan. With no decision on the Joshua tree's status, it continues to be protected in “candidate” status. The topic was continued until the October meeting of the Commission. This Desert Sun article provides a comprehensive summary of the presentations, arguments, and actions taken at the meeting. Additional information and links to the recording of the meeting can be found in this email from the group ProtecttheJoshuaTrees.com.
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