New Lawsuit Filed Over Cadiz Water Project

The Center for Biological Diversity has filed a lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management in response to an action taken in the final days of the prior administration that would ease the path for the Cadiz Water Project. A right-of-way for the water mining scheme was granted without any public review. Read the news item by local radio KCDZ 107.7 and the press release from the Center for Biological Diversity for the latest information on this decade-long battle against draining important desert water reserves.  
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Joshua Tree Genome Project Reports Research Progress

In the latest update from the Joshua Tree Genome Project, the research team reports that they have been planting Joshua tree seedlings across the Mojave Desert. In this stage of their research, they seek to learn about the relative effects of genetics and environment on the trees' development. On their website you can learn more about the science, the scientists, and the partners supporting the project, which include the Joshua Tree National Park Association and the California Native Plant Society.
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History of Water in the Morongo Basin - Desert Institute Video

Marina West, Manager of the Bighorn Desert View Water Agency and recently a Board member and Treasurer for MBCA, presented an illustrated virtual lecture on the "History of Water in the Morongo Basin: A Perspective on an Undervalued Resource" as a program for the Desert Institute, the educational arm of the Joshua Tree National Park Association. In this one-hour YouTube recording, Marina provides the Basin's water history in both geological and historical timeframes, with many anecdotes about the pioneers of harvesting water through the development wells in the Morongo Basin.
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MBCA's Radio Interview Available

The recording of the Up Close Show interview with MBCA President Steve Bardwell and Secretary Laraine Turk is now available on the KCDZ 107.7 website. Topics covered in the March 12 interview include the Joshua tree as candidate for threatened status, renewable energy issues, the proposed County dark sky ordinance, and climate change. Early in the interview, News Director Gary Daigneault shares a story about his own interaction with MBCA's Founder Susan Luckie Reilly.
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Letter: Group, Rooftop Solar and Net Metering

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MBCA Joins Call to State in Support of Net Metering

MBCA has joined over 70 organizations signing a letter addressed to Governor Newsom and the California Public Utilities Commission stating concern about changes to net metering. Net metering allows rooftop solar owners connected to the grid to receive bill credit for energy produced beyond their own needs. This does not work to the advantage of investor-owned utilities that are pressing for changes. The letter also encourages more solar battery storage and rooftop solar growth with extra support for low-income communities.
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Plant Spotlight: Brittlebush

This fast growing desert native is a favorite among gardeners in the Morongo Basin and it is easy to see why. Brittlebush's (Encelia farinosa) grey leaves offset its profusion of yellow daisy-like flowers in a mounding habit. It has a long bloom cycle if given enough water. But not too much water as it is a true desert native and is used to an arid environment. 
Photo by Stacy Doolittle
 
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Plant Spotlight: Desert or Rush Milkweed

We love the structural quality of Desert or Rush Milkweed (Asclepias subulata) in the garden. This plant thrives in all Morongo Basin elevations (hardy to 10-20 Fahrenheit). Can tolerate some shade. 
 
flowering desert milkweed
Photo courtesy of Stacy Doolittle
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DRECP Changes Revoked

On February 17 the Department of the Interior revoked the eleventh-hour amendment to California's Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan by the outgoing administration that would have greatly reduced protected lands. This Desert Sun article provides more history and details, and California Energy Commissioner Karen Douglas has released this statement of recognition and appreciation.  
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MDLT Provides Comprehensive Joshua Tree Regulations

Alexandra Hicks' photo of sunset and Joshua Tree
(Photo by Alexandra Hicks)
We are grateful to the Mojave Desert Land Trust for assembling and publishing a comprehensive guide to the new regulations regarding Western Joshua trees.
Last fall the California Fish and Game Commission voted to advance this iconic Mojave desert plant as a candidate for threatened species status. There is a one-year assessment period when special regulations regarding their movement or destruction are in place.
Refresh yourself on the situation by reading our September 23 News Update then go to MDLT's Western Joshua Tree Regulations page for all the current requirements.
 
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