Last fall the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned California to list the western Joshua tree as a threatened species under California's Endangered Species Act. On April 13 the state's Department of Fish and Wildlife agreed. The Department's Commissioners are scheduled to vote on the recommendation in June. You can find thorough coverage of the story on local radio KCDZ, on the Mojave Watch blog(no longer available), and in the Desert Sun and Los Angeles Times online newspapers.
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