Letter: Statewide Response to Draft 30 x 30 Pathways Report

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National Park Service Invites Public Comments on New West Entrance Station Plan

The public is invited to comment on a plan to construct a new West Entrance Station in Joshua Tree National Park to alleviate the entrance traffic back-ups that have increasingly occurred as Park visitation has increased. The National Park Service announcement of the West Entrance Plan Environmental Assessment includes all relevant documents and a link to the comment form. The comment deadline is March 11 at 11:59 PM Mountain Standard Time.  
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Plant Spotlight: Agave

In the cool winter days of February when nothing much seems to be going on in the landscape, agaves stand out in the garden with their grey-green palette and strong structure.
Quite a few varieties of agave thrive in the Morongo Basin. Due to the differences in altitude, an agave that does well in Twentynine Palms may be too cold sensitive for Pioneertown's chilly winter temps. Experiment and talk to other gardeners about what works for them. Agaves are great "pass along" plants as they often produce offspring or "pups".
Don't rely on the big box stores to have vetted cold hardiness of agave for our area. They may sell plants in the Morongo Basin that cannot take our low temps. (Note: an agave can sometimes recover from cold damage to leaves.) 
Photos by Stacy Doolittle
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Recording of 2022 Annual Meeting Now Available

The video recording of MBCA's 2022 Annual Meeting with speakers on "The Last Joshua Tree? Climate Change and the Future of this Iconic Species" is now available. For more background, here is the January 22, 2022 Press Release announcing the meeting. You can find the time stamp for the several sections of the meeting on the YouTube page or below.

     0:06  Introduction and Issue Overview by President, Steve Bardwell
   17:16  Laraine Turk Honoring Ruth Rieman, retiring Board member
   20:15  Remarks by Ruth Rieman
   21:16  Introduction and Remarks by Chris Clarke
   41:16  Presentation by Brendan Cummings
1:20:05  Questions and Conversation with Chris Clarke and Brendan Cummings

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County Planning Commission Continues STR Ordinance Consideration

The San Bernardino County Planning Commission's draft Short Term Rental (STR) ordinance agenda item on February 3 was continued to the next meeting, or more likely to a Special meeting to be determined at the next meeting (February 17). More than 5 hours were devoted to the topic, including the staff presentation, more than 60 public comments, and lengthy dialogue among the Commissioners. Key issues of further consideration included whether to allow an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) to be an STR, whether different desert and mountain conditions should dictate different ordinance details for those areas, and many other complex issues. MBCA Directors were disappointed at how little acknowledgement there was of housing inequity. The large increase in STRs has greatly reduced affordable rental housing especially in Morongo Basin communities (see Wayne Hamilton letter for more data).

Below is a series of lists, maps, comment letters and other documents that were provided by MBCA to the Planning Commission and other County entities to elaborate on the short-term rental problem in the Morongo Basin particularly.

Chart of STRs by Zipcode January 2022
MBCA’s 2.2.22 STR Comment letter
MBCA’s 10.19.21 STR Comment letter
Map of SB County Supervisorial Districts|
Data comparison of SB County Districts
Map of STRs by Zipcode January 2022
Map of SB County size compared to 4 states
Wayne Hamilton, MUSD Housing Liaison, Letter to Sup. Rowe



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Letter: Housing Element Letter to State Agencies

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Stewardship and Conservation at Coyote Hole in Joshua Tree

The Coyote Hole historic petroglyph site in Joshua Tree, an area of long-time concern due to incidents of graffiti and trash dumping, is now being patrolled and conserved by the Native American Land Conservancy, with volunteer assistance. Transferred by San Bernardino County to the Conservancy for stewardship purposes in 2018, a recent grant from the Rose Foundation provides the Conservancy with funds to increase oversight of 30 acres in the wash area. This Desert Sun article describes the Conservancy's role and provides a series of photos of Coyote Hole.
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Raven Abatement on Desert Military Bases

In November a Draft Programmatic Environmental Assessment was published by the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center and other agencies, proposing actions to manage widespread raven problems in California desert military locations. In response, Ed LaRue of the Desert Tortoise Council sent a comment letter that approves of the raven abatement project so far as it’s necessary to protect desert tortoise, but also recommends a number of changes.

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Eblast January 15, 2022

  • Save the date for MBCA’s 53rd Annual Meeting
  • Light Trespass Ordinance Now in Effect
  • Protect Rooftop Solar in California
  • Stagecoach Solar Project Update
  • County to Amend Short Term Rental Ordinance
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Final SB County Light Trespass Ordinance Published

The San Bernardino County Light Trespass Ordinance is now official. As we noted in our December 8 news post, "Two of the primary 'wins' of the final version of the ordinance are a shielding requirement and modernization of the terminology and measurement process concerning light trespass. Decorative string lights were one of the final issues of contention, and the approved version of the ordinance will only limit the color temperature and lumen output for residential, not commercial, string lights. The Supervisors agreed to revisit the issue in the future." In the near future, MBCA plans to provide more educational content about the ordinance.


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