E-Blast February 14, 2017

  • Return Eagle Mountain lands to JTNP
  • Stop 2,220 home development - Mission Creek
  • Black Rock Symposium: "How to Make Your Voice Heard on Conservation Issues in an Uncertain Political Climate."
  • UCR Conference: Solar Energy Directions for Inland Southern California: Where is it going?
  • Renewable energy Moratorium request - San Bernardino Co.
  • Ruth Denison Environmental Conservation Scholarship
  • Refreshed and renewed website - mbconservation.org

First of all, I want to remind you of several deadlines and events in coming days:

1) Return Eagle Mountain Lands to JTNP

WHEN: Comment letters due February 16, 2017 – this Thursday!

Support returning BLM Eagle Mountain lands back to Joshua Tree National Park. Take a minute to express your support to BLM for the Final Boundary Study recommendation to add approximately 20,000 acres of federal, state, and private lands to the boundary of Joshua Tree National Park that were withdrawn from the Monument in 1950. Click here for background info from JTNP Superintendent David Smith.

2) 2,220 home development: 481 acres, Mission Creek & Hwy 62
WHEN: Tuesday, February 21, 2017 at 6:00 PM
WHAT: Desert Hot Springs (DHS) City Council meeting
WHERE: Mission Springs Water Dist., Board Room, 66575 2nd St., DHS
This massive development would sit at a key gateway to Sand to Snow National Monument, as well as The Wildlands Conservancy’s Mission Creek Preserve. Developers will request the DHS City Council to appeal the DHS Planning Commission’s denial for extensions to the entitlement for their “Mission Creek Trails” project (Mission Creek Road & Hwy 62.) DHS lobbied strongly for Sand to Snow. Voices are needed at the DHS Council meeting:
This is not the place to develop! It is time for this project to expire!
Info: Jack Thompson, Wildlands Conservancy (760) 325-7222
3) Black Rock Symposium: "How to Make Your Voice Heard on Conservation Issues in an Uncertain Political Climate."
WHEN: Friday, February 24, 2017; 7:00 – 8:30 PM
REGISTRATION: Free, but advance registration required via the Joshua Tree National Park Association webpage. Do so now as space is limited! You will also find more details on JTNPA’s webpage of Friday’s program and others in the series in coming months.
4) UCR Center for Environmental Research & Technology
Annual Solar Conference: Solar Energy Directions for Inland Southern California: Where is it going?
WHEN: February 23rd; 8AM – 4PM
WHERE:  Bourns Technology Center, 1200 Columbia Ave., Riverside, CA 
REGISTRATION: $85 per person
MBCA Directors have attended this conference in the past and found it valuable. Click here for details of conference.
Renewable energy Moratorium requested for San Bernardino Co.
MBCA has joined the Morongo Basin MAC, the Mojave Communities Conservation Collaborative (MC3), and other conservation partners in support of the request made by Lucerne Valley Economic Development Association (LVEDA) for San Bernardino County to impose a moratorium on approving any new industrial-scale Renewable Energy projects – with all current applications placed “on hold” - until the County’s Renewable Energy Element is approved and in place.  They have further requested that the County make the same request to BLM and the State Lands Commission.
Lucerne Valley is besieged with at least 10 current proposals for solar development, with several others anticipated that would impact about 3,500 acres. This excludes potential multitudes on DFA’s (DRECP Development Focus Areas) and State Lands not yet filed on.
Lorrie Steely, President MC3 encourages us to show up and speak, virtually or live to the Board of Supervisors at their meeting on Feb. 28th where the Resolution for a solar moratorium will be presented.
MBCA Ruth Denison Environmental Conservation Scholarship
The Denison scholarship is available for the first time for 2017 high school graduates entering a college or university in Fall 2017. The $500 scholarship is available through a generous bequest from Ruth Denison, a long-time supporter of this Association.   Applications are being accepted now. The postmark deadline for mailing the application to MBCA (PO Box 24, JT 92252) is March 31, 2017.
MBCA Annual Meeting and Water Symposium
I want to thank MBCA’s Desert Wise Living committee for the terrific program presented at our Annual Meeting on January 28th. During the meeting, I acknowledged volunteer coordinator, Cathy Zarakov and her cadre of volunteers who serve MBCA so well. We’re all volunteers at MBCA and each one who contributes is instrumental in our success.
Keynote speaker Cindy Zacks passionately spoke of her work with students at Yucca High School that engenders their appreciation for nature and launched several of the Basin’s conservation leaders. MBCA looks forward to our ongoing support of Cindy and her program. Special thanks to her for assisting MBCA in the development of our Ruth Denison Scholarship that is designed to foster future leadership. Finally, congratulations to Cindy who is the 2017 recipient of the prestigious Joshua Tree National Park Association’s Minerva Hoyt Desert Conservation Award!
Following the Keynote presentation, Water Symposium panelists representing Basin water districts provided a fantastic overview of quality, quantity and other issues impacting administration of their services. Finally, thanks to everyone who attended and participated in the lively Q&A. The Symposium met the high quality of educational programming that MBCA works to provide for our members and supporters. Bravo!
Refreshed and renewed website: mbconservation.org
If you haven’t yet, please do check out and explore the “new” MBCA website. This is the “go to” resource for conservation issues in the Basin that we have imagined! It is another entirely volunteer engineered MBCA effort –thanks go to Director Laraine Turk and her team. We’re particularly grateful for the technology expertise contributed by Nora Lousignant. It’s not an exaggeration to say it couldn’t have been done without you, Nora!
          Please give us your feedback – what do you like about the MBCA’s website and what could be improved? With your input this resource will continue to grow and serve us.
Sarah Kennington, MBCA President
Your 2017 MBCA Board
David Fick, Vice President
Steve Bardwell, Treasurer        Marina West, Recording Secretary
Pat Flanagan, Director             Meg Foley, Director              
Ruth Rieman, Director             Seth Shteir, Director
Claudia Sall, Events                 Laraine Turk, Director

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