Letter: MBCA Joins Support for AB 1757, Setting Natural Carbon Sequestration Targets

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MBCA Directors Work to Improve California's 30x30 Plan

Four MBCA board members continue to be involved in the planning and response for California’s 30x30 Project. The project was developed from Governor Newsom’s 2020 Executive Order N-82-20 which establishes a state goal of conserving 30% of California’s lands and coastal waters by 2030.

Arch McCulloch, Brian Hammer, Pat Flanagan and Gary Stiler are most concerned about some challenges in recognizing the importance and contours of the desert within the plan. "Our biggest concern is they don't acknowledge the desert as a whole, they only acknowledge a piece of it. Nor does the state acknowledge that the CA Desert sequesters 10% of the state's carbon. We want them to explore what's there," reports Flanagan.

In a February 2022 letter co-signed by MBCA, desert groups complained about "ecological fragmentation of the California desert" in an earlier version of the 30x30 plan, as Death Valley was considered part of the Sierra Nevada area and Anza Borrego was attached to the San Diego section. This issue was not corrected in the final plan (PDF)

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Eblast August 15, 2022

MBCA_Sticker_Final_Transparent.png
  • Short Term Rental Survey
  • Housing Element update
  • Desert Wise Virtual Landscape videos released
 
 
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Letter: Comments on the Golden Currant Solar Project Variance Process

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Plant Spotlight: Ocotillo

ocotillo, blooming
Photo by Chris Hunkeler from Carlsbad, California, USA,  <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Ocotillo is a native plant that creates structure and height in our Morongo Basin landscapes. Ocotillo means "little torch" in Spanish, probably inspired by the orange red flowers at the plant's tips. The plant can grow up to 15 feet tall and wide. It prefers full sun and likes our heat.
Fouquieria splendens, or ocotillo, for much of the year appears to be an arrangement of large spiny dead sticks, although a closer look reveals that the canes are partly green. Either through irrigation or rain, water makes the plant come to life with small green leaves all over the stems.
Tips about growing and irrigating these plants varies widely. Morongo Basin writer Maureen Gilmer notes that getting them started in your yard can be "devilishly difficult." She recommends buying them potted instead of bare root for best growing success.
ocotillo with blooms
Ocotillo in Landers, CA. Photo by Marina Chavez
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MBCA Participates in Solar Rights Rally

7-20-22_MBCA_and_Solar_Rights.jpegMBCA President Steve Bardwell (l) and Director Arch McCulloch (r) participated in the Solar Rights Rally held in Cathedral City on July 20. They are pictured here with Solar Rights Alliance Executive Director Dave Rosenfeld. The rally was one in a statewide series to "sound the alarm about the utilities' solar tax and call on Governor Gavin Newsom to keep solar affordable for middle- and working-class families."
Around 50 people participated on a 110-degree day. 
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Eblast July 20, 2022

MBCA_Sticker_Final_Transparent.png
  • Desert Wise Virtual Landscape videos released
  • Planning Commission to vote on Housing Element
  • Industrial Scale Renewable Energy Threats to the Desert
 
 
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Position: MBCA's Statement on Short-Term Rentals

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MBCA Comments to County on Revised Housing Element

San Bernardino County's June draft version of their state-required Housing Element contained some changes in direct response to the outpouring of public concerns about excessive Short Term Rentals in unincorporated Desert and Mountain areas of the County. MBCA has scrutinized the latest draft and sent a detailed comment letter thanking the County for some useful changes and pointing out the need for additional revisions. For a history of the ongoing County housing issues, see our News posts of June 9 (MBCA comment letter)June 9 (combined letter with Center for Biological Diversity), and June 15 (report on Supervisors' meeting). This Desert Sun article contains a good overview of the situation.  
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Plant Spotlight: Red Yucca

A non-native grass-like plant that does particularly well in the Morongo Basin is red yucca, or Hesperaloe  parviflora. Its grassy evergreen leaves provide interest during all seasons, with plants having a purple cast in the winter cold. 
red yucca plant with flowers
Creative Commons photo by Fritz Hochstätter
As a native of the Mexican Chihuahuan Desert, red yucca can withstand our high temperatures.  The deep rose-pink blooms usually start in June and last for a long time, provided the plant is regularly watered. The bloom spike can reach 5 feet in mature plants. If watered irregularly, it will either not bloom or the blooms will be few. 
This is a low-maintenance plant beloved by hummingbirds!
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