Landscape Tour Essay Contest Winners

Fredenburg_cactus_and_tree.jpgMBCA is pleased to announce the winners of the 2017 Desert-Wise Landscape Tour Essay Contest.  The winners were selected in a very close vote.  All of the submissions caught both the detail and the spirit of the "Desert-Wise" focus of the Tour.  We thank the writers for submitting their thoughts and hope you will enjoy their creative essays.  We also thank Unique Nursery and Cactus Mart for their support of the Landscape Tour by sponsoring the Essay Contest Prizes. 

The First Place essay is by Rosalie Mendoza, who will receive a $200 Gift Certificate to Unique Nursery.

The Second Place winner is Ken Brock, who wins a $150 Gift Certificate to Cactus Mart.

And Susan Jordan is the Third Place winner.  She will receive a $100 Gift Certificate to Cactus Mart.



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LA Times Op-Ed on Cadiz by MBCA Speaker

Peter_Brooks.jpgWe encourage you to read today's Los Angeles Times op-ed about the Cadiz water project, "The ludicrous plan to pump Mojave Water to L.A.". The author, Peter Brooks, has been a featured speaker at two of MBCA's Desert-Wise Lectures. His focus in September 2015 was "The Future of Water:  Understanding the Worlds's Most Precious Resource," and in September 2016 he presented "The future of energy and the grid for Morongo Basin" for MBCA.  His LA Times opinion piece will give you an overview and update about why MBCA and many conservation groups and desert residents oppose the Cadiz project. 

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Denison Scholarship Winner Announced


Nicole Serrano, graduating senior and valedictorian at Yucca Valley High School, has been awarded the first Ruth Denison Environmental Conservation Scholarship by MBCA.  Nicole has been admitted to the University of California, Davis, to study animal science and environmental science.  She is pictured here with Sarah Kennington, President of MBCA.  Read more about Ruth Denison's inspirational life on our website's scholarship page.

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Concern about Tortoises in Joshua Tree National Park

tortoise.jpgThe Los Angeles Times published a comprehensive article on the status of tortoises in Joshua Tree National Park. The reduction in numbers over past decades, and especially the deaths of a number of female tortoises in the southern area of the Park in recent years is of concern. The scientists interviewed share data and hypotheses about the current and future status of the Park icon. 

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National Monuments Guest Commentary

pat_photo.jpgA guest commentary by MBCA Director Pat Flanagan on the importance of National Monuments to the County of San Bernardino and its desert communities was published on Wednesday, May 10, 2017.  We have made available a printable version of Pat's commentary or you can view the story on the Sun's website.  


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Rieman Presentation - Grass Roots Activism

ruth_photo.jpgMBCA Director (and prior President and Treasurer) Ruth Rieman served as a panel member at the April 21, 2017 Black Rock Symposium (a series sponsored by the Joshua Tree National Park Association through its Desert Institute), on the topic "Grassroots Activism in the Morongo Basin." Ruth's presentation explored the stories of several historic women desert activists who inspired her and also provided an overview of the organizations and causes she has been involved with for decades here in the Morongo Basin, especially with MBCA and the California Desert Coalition.  Take a look at her PowerPoint Presentation titled "Grassroots" to understand more about the heart and soul of a true desert activist.  

You can also view a YouTube video of the entire hour and a half Symposium (that also includes fellow Board Member Laraine Turk's presentation on the Morongo Basin Dark Skies Alliance).


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Progress for Morongo Basin Bike Trails

A grant is now in place with the County to begin planning bicycle trails across the Morongo Basin.  MBCA Board of Advisors member Greg Gilbert has worked toward this goal for a number of years.  As reported on KCDZ radio, "The bike trails project would stretch approximately 100 miles altogether, uniting the Morongo Basin communities."  Here is the full story.

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E-Blast May 2, 2017

Before we update you on several important issues, we want to report that the 2017 Desert-Wise Landscape Tour was a huge success. Almost 400 participants visited the 21 sites located across the Morongo Basin on the weekend of April 22-23, and were educated and enchanted with the creative and water-wise landscapes they viewed.  Over 60 volunteers served as hosts, docents, and registration workers.  Read more about the Tour and view some photos on our Landscape Tour Review page
Sponsors that make the Tour possible include Mojave Water Agency, Twentynine Palms Water District, Hi-Desert Water District, Southern California Edison, Bighorn-Desert View Water Agency, and Joshua Basin Water District. 
One last note on the Tour - we urge all participants to consider writing a few paragraphs about their experience at the Tour and submitting it to the Essay Contest competition for gift certificate prizes from Unique Nursery and Cactus Mart.  Gift certificate prizes range from $100-$200 - a nice reward to further your own landscape goals!  Read all the details here - and submit your thoughts by Monday, May 15.
Desert National Monuments
Most of you will have learned from news media about President Trump's recent order for the Department of the Interior to review a number of recently-created National Monuments, including our two local Monuments, Sand-To-Snow and Mojave Trails, that hundreds of us worked so hard to bring to fruition.  News reports from local radio station KCDZ FM, the Desert Sun, and the Los Angeles Times provide details.  The LA Times editorial the next day was very clear about its position; it was titled "Leave the national monuments alone."  There is much uncertainty about how rescinding National Monuments could happen. Morongo Basin residents are urged to let your federal representatives know your feelings on the matter.  You can find contact information and links on our Decision-Maker Contact Information Page within our Resource Library.
Eagle Crest Pumping Project (at the old Eagle Mountain Mine)
We alerted you in March to the Desert Sun's editorial titled "Brown Misguided on Eagle Mountain infrastructure ask," commenting negatively on Governor Jerry Brown's request for federal funding to move this project forward.  The use of desert aquifers to create a "giant battery in the desert" by filling two of the Eagle Mountain Mine empty pits with water and devising an energy-generating movement of the water would likely decimate desert aquifers that fuel desert life in Joshua Tree National Park.  The Desert Sun has published a follow-up editorial that, while expressing some degree of inevitability about the project moving forward, strongly advises to "Keep close watch on Eagle Mountain hydropower project."
County Renewable Energy Element Final Draft
We recently posted a news item about the almost-final status of the San Bernardino County’s Renewable Energy Element of the County General Plan.  Here is the link to that information.
Upcoming Events
(Bookmark MBCA’s Community Events Calendar page to keep up with meetings and events we think will be of interest to MBCA supporters.)
Monday, May 8, 6:30-8:00 PM, Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council at Joshua Tree Community Center.  Along with reports from County safety and fire agencies and MAC representatives, Caltrans is scheduled to present an update on the Downtown JT traffic plan.
Wednesday, May 17, 4:00-6:30 PM, Celebration of Life for Victoria Fuller at the Joshua Basin Water District Demonstration Garden.  Victoria was a member of MBCA’s Board of Advisors among many other community groups, and a contributor to countless community improvement initiatives.  This event will give all of us a chance to remember her engaging personality and many contributions.  Hope to see you there. 

Thanks for your support.

Your 2017 MBCA Board 

Sarah Kennington, President               David Fick, Vice President
Steve Bardwell, Treasurer                    Marina West, Recording Secretary
Pat Flanagan, Director                         Meg Foley, Director               
Ruth Rieman, Director                         Claudia Sall, Events
Laraine Turk, Director



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County RE Element Final Draft

Here is a message from the County about the latest status of the Renewable Energy and Conservation Element of the County's General Plan.  For more background, you can click the links in this November 2016 News Update from MBCA.

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April 25, 2017
April 2017 Final Public Hearing Draft Renewable Energy and Conservation Element Now Available for Public Review!
The Final Public Hearing Draft Renewable Energy and Conservation Element (REC Element) has been revised following the Planning Commission Public Hearing held November 3, 2016 and is now available for public review. The Board of Supervisors’ upcoming public hearing has not yet been scheduled, but the date will be posted on the Land Use Services Renewable Energy website and email notices sent out once scheduled.
The April 2017 Final Public Hearing Draft REC Element tracks the changes made to the November 2016 Draft and may be viewed via the following link:
Comments and/or questions may be sent directly to .
Linda Mawby
Senior Planner Land Use Services Department
Phone: 909-387-4002 Fax: 909-387-3223
385 North Arrowhead Avenue, First Floor
San Bernardino, CA 92415-0187


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Landscape Tour Review

During Earth Day weekend, nearly 400 people enjoyed the creative efforts of the owners of 21 water-wise landscape properties from Morongo Valley to Yucca Valley, Joshua Tree, Twentynine Palms, Pioneertown, and Landers.  

The Hi Desert Star published Hilary Sloane's article "Landscaping tour shows off water-wise sanctuaries" on April 29.

See more photos of the Tour on the 2017 Landscape Tour Photos page.

If you participated in the Tour, consider submitting a short essay to describe your experience and win a gift certificate.  Here are the details of the Essay Contest.  The deadline for entry is May 15.

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