New Petition Filed for Joshua Tree Protection

Joshua_Trees___snowy_Mt.SanG.jpgThe Desert Sun reports that the Center for Biological Diversity recently filed a petition with the state's Fish and Game Commission for protection of the Western Joshua Tree from climate change by listing it as a threatened species under the California Endangered Species Act. The news article provides scientific and political background on the issue. The Commission has 10 days to certify the petition and send it to the Department of Fish and Wildlife, which then has 90 days to provide an initial recommendation. Here is the LA Times story on this topic.
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"Water for the Morongo Basin: The Next 50 Years" Program Report

A keenly interested audience of almost 60 attended MBCA’s Fall Desert-Wise Living Lecture on September 28.

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Mojave Water Agency’s General Manager, Tom McCarthy, provided not only a clear presentation about MWA's history and processes, he also responded patiently and instructively to a number of detailed questions.


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He has provided MBCA with his PowerPoint presentation (a PDF version). While the slides in this version and without Tom's in-person explanations aren't as comprehensive as his full presentation, you will find a number of illustrations, maps and charts that are informative.

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Thanks once again to the sponsors of MBCA’s Desert-Wise Living Series (see below) and especially to the volunteers and Board members who helped set up and manage the event.

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This lecture was part of MBCA’s Desert-Wise Living Series, and was made possible through the generous funding of the Bighorn-Desert View Water Agency, Golden State Water Company, Hi-Desert Water District, Joshua Basin Water District, Mojave Water Agency, Southern California Edison, and Twentynine Palms Water Agency.

 

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Two Important Meetings Thursday

On Thursday, October 3, there are two important meetings we'd like to bring to your attention. We hope you'll consider attending one or both and offering your input.

9:00 AM -  At the Government Center in San Bernardino and ALSO VIDEO-CONFERENCED IN JOSHUA TREE will be the San Bernardino County Planning Commission meeting. Of concern on the Agenda is Item #3, a proposal for a 55-Airstream trailer "suite hotel" just outside downtown Joshua Tree. Take a look at the Staff Report for all the details and we especially suggest you check pages 69-87 for the pro and con comments already submitted. Consider making your own 3-minute public comment during this meeting. See all the details and links in our MBCA Calendar listing.

6:00 PM - At the Bell Center of Copper Mountain College will be a Joshua Tree National Park Community Meeting (one of 3, the only one in the Morongo Basin). The Superintendent and other Park personnel will share information about the state of the Park and request your input on future planning. See all the details and read the Park's press release in our MBCA Calendar listing.

Your MBCA Board:

Steve Bardwell, President                          Pat Flanagan, Director       
David Fick, Vice President                         Meg Foley, Director
Laraine Turk, Recording Secretary            Mike Lipsitz, Director
Marina West, Treasurer                             Ruth Rieman, Director
Sarah Kennington, Past President             

 

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Eblast September 20, 2019

Join us on Saturday morning, September 28, for MBCA's Fall Desert-Wise Living Program. We are pleased to have the General Manager of the Mojave Water Agency, Tom McCarthy, delivering the keynote  "Water for the Morongo Basin - the Next 50 Years."

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A sampling of breakfast treats from Boo's Organic Oven in Joshua Tree will be offered during the opening reception from 9-9:30 AM. The program will begin at 9:30 and conclude by 11 AM.

As September 28 is National Public Lands Day, we will celebrate and salute the 25th Anniversary of the California Desert Protection Act as we concurrently celebrate MBCA's 50th Anniversary with historical documents and photos on display.

More details can be found in our Press Release about this event. We hope to see you there!

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This lecture is part of MBCA’s Desert-Wise Living Series, and was made possible through the generous funding of the Bighorn-Desert View Water Agency, Golden State Water Company, Hi-Desert Water District, Joshua Basin Water District, Mojave Water Agency, Southern California Edison, and Twentynine Palms Water Agency.



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New State Fur Trapping Ban Has Local Connection

Local resident Tom O'Key, who initiated and was critical to the success of the statewide campaign against bobcat trapping several years ago (see MBCA News Update "End of Bobcat Trapping") has been a key part of a followup effort to end all fur trapping in California. That campaign was successful and Tom is quoted several times in this LA Times article describing the Governor's signing of this first-in-America bill.
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USDA Will Research Sahara Mustard Biocontrol

In April, MBCA submitted a letter in support of the Tubbs Canyon Desert Conservancy in their effort to convince the US Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) to seek new ways of controlling Saharan mustard. The Conservancy has alerted us of a positive response from the USDA, stating that their upcoming 5-year plan for 2020-2025 will [emphasis added] include studies on identifying and assessing potential biocontrol agents that can be used for Sahara mustard mitigation and eradication." Here is the USDA-ARS letter for full details. (See MBCA's Invasive Plants page for more on Sahara mustard.) 
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Paradise Valley Voted Down by Riverside County Planning Commission

We received word from MBCA President Steve Bardwell shortly after the decision on the afternoon of August 21 that the proposed Paradise Valley housing development planned for the southern edge of Joshua Tree National Park was voted down by the Riverside County Planning Commission, in a 4-1 vote.  Read more details in this Desert Sun article. Enjoy the photos below taken at the venue. MBCA Directors and supporters, especially Steve Bardwell, Sarah Kennington, and our stalwart science guru Pat Flanagan were vigilant in keeping track of the project, attending meetings, and making comments against the ill-conceived project.

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Pat Flanagan presenting her science-based and impassioned plea to deny the Paradise Valley project.


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Sarah Kennington holding DENY Paradise Valley sign.



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The post-vote celebration of the denial of the Paradise Valley Project.

BACKGROUND SCIENCE: 

Here are Pat’s comments for MBCA on CO2 Emissions of the Paradise Valley Project.

The following links include research documents elaborating on the science behind Pat’s comments:

1.  The 2014 National Park Service Report on Carbon Sequestration in Parksincludes data on Joshua Tree National Park.

2.  A Desert Report article “The Desert Under Our Feet”by the Morongo Basin’s own Robin Kobaly discusses how the amazing biology under our soil is critical to a healthy desert and absorption of carbon dioxide.

3.  A very technical study called “Greater ecosystem carbon in the Mojave Desert after 10 years exposure to CO2”concludes that “arid ecosystems are significant, previously unrecognized, sinks for atmospheric CO2 that must be accounted for in efforts to constrain terrestrial and global C(arbon) cycles.”

4.  A brief summary of arid lands carbon sequestration research from Washington State University, “Research: Arid areas absorb unexpected amounts of carbon”points out the importance of arid ecosystems.

 

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Eblast August 20, 2019

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DENY PARADISE VALLEY!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019
Riverside County Planning Commission  

The Riverside County Planning Commission will meet this Wednesday in Palm Desert to at last vote on the certification of the EIR for this grossly inappropriate development on the southern boundary of Joshua Tree National Park. The County’s Planning staff has recommended a denial of the project, as indicated in MBCA’s August 15 posted News Update, “Roadblock for Paradise Valley Development.”

In the agenda for the meeting, you can read the Planning staff report and their 2 recommendations, that the Commission either recommend denial of the project to the Supervisors or take the project off the calendar and ask the project applicant to address the staff’s concerns.

MBCA will be represented at the meeting and will make a full report of the results via Eblast soon after. Please join us if you can, to make your public comment of concern about the Paradise Valley project.

WHEN:  WEDNESDAY August 21, 2019 9:30AM

WHERE:  RIVERSIDE COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION STEVE ROBBINS ADMINISTRATION BUILDING, Coachella Valley Water District - Administration Board Room, 75515 Hovley Lane East, Palm Desert, CA 92211

Plan to arrive by 9:00 to in front of the hearing venue.

Looking forward to seeing you there! This promises to be a big day!

Your MBCA Board:

Steve Bardwell, President                          Pat Flanagan, Director       
David Fick, Vice President                         Meg Foley, Director
Laraine Turk, Recording Secretary            Mike Lipsitz, Director
Marina West, Treasurer                             Ruth Rieman, Director
Sarah Kennington, Past President             

 

 

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Roadblock for Paradise Valley Development

The Riverside County Planning Department has thrown a roadblock in front of the huge "new town" of Paradise Valley proposed at the southern border of Joshua Tree National Park. The Desert Sun reports that Planning staff have said they cannot support the plan as submitted, in part due to questions not being satisfactorily answered by the project proponent, GLC Enterprises. The Planning Commission is due to vote on the project at its August 21 meeting. It may now either deny the project or direct staff to continue working to resolve issues. (Note in the second photo in the article that MBCA President and Immediate Past President Steve Bardwell and Sarah Kennington are sitting two rows behind the GLC representative Frank Bigelow at the May Planning Commission meeting. You can also read a lot more that MBCA has published on this issue by typing Paradise Valley into our Search button.)
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Joshua Trees in Peril, Updated

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