Eblast November 17, 2021

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  • Short Term Rentals
  • County Supervisors to consider Light Trespass Ordinance
  • Protect and Encourage Rooftop Solar
 
 
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MBCA Joins Request for Wildlife Crossings on Rail Corridor

As the Brightline West High-Speed Rail Project between southern California and Las Vegas rolls toward implementation, MBCA has again joined numerous organizations to insist that the state require three wildlife crossings to protect our world-class wildlife, including mountain lions and bighorn sheep, in the fragile desert environment. The letter signed by 35 organizations is addressed to Governor Newsom with copies to California's Senators and the heads of appropriate state and federal agencies. Prior MBCA news stories on the issue were posted on September 5, 2020, and November 23, 2020, and this September 16 Los Angeles Times article focuses on the value of the wildlife crossings for bighorn sheep.
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Daggett Solar 66 Plans Mitigation Actions Encouraged by MBCA

At a meeting with a Daggett Solar 66 Project representative initiated by MBCA Directors, the representative described several mitigation efforts directly related to MBCA's concerns listed in our April comment letter. As a follow-up, this November 2 letter was sent by MBCA to the Planning Commission to summarize the project's mitigation actions with reference to our original concerns and therefore our support for the Conditional Use Permit. The County Planning Commission will review the project at their  November 4, 2021 meeting.
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LA Times Provides Overview of Net Metering Issues

A November 2 news story by Sammy Roth of the Los Angeles Times provides a comprehensive overview of the many issues and viewpoints swirling around California's Net Energy Metering (NEM) program. MBCA's earlier news stories of May 8 and June 4 provide our history of involvement as we have signed on to Solar Rights Alliance letters seeking both local and distributed renewable energy commitment and climate justice goals. (If you cannot access the article, here is a text-only version.)
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Plant Spotlight: Jojoba

The jojoba is a native of the Morongo Basin and thrives in home landscapes.  Simmondsia chinensis is a wonderful plant for back of the border or to be used as at moderately-fast growing screen. Leaf color ranges from greens to greys. The leaves are small and the shrub can be kept compact in habit through pruning. It can grow from 4-7 feet high and wide. Care should be taken in higher elevations (up to 5000 feet) of our area as a hard freeze can kill a young plant. Despite needing good drainage, jojoba seems to tolerate and even appreciate clay soils. Deer prefer it but rabbits and other nibblers ignore it. 
large jojoba plant
Photos by Stacy Doolittle
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MBCA Addresses Housing Issues

To bring attention to the ongoing lack of housing availability in the Morongo Basin and the significant negative consequences, MBCA sent this letter of concern to state, county, and local officials. All California cities and counties are currently updating their Housing Elements, which are submitted to the State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) for approval. Jurisdictions also have to submit Annual Progress Reports which evaluate and record the status of housing availability for various income levels. However, the existing reporting structure entirely overlooks the effect of so much housing being turned into short-term rental properties with dire effects on the resident community including housing displacement and housing insecurity. Changes must occur to prevent even more damage being done to local families and to the fabric of our communities.
 
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MBCA Submits Comments on Aratina Solar Project

The Aratina Solar Project is proposed for a portion of undisturbed Mojave Desert in Kern County near the town of Boron. The land is mostly undisturbed Joshua Tree woodland, and its destruction for this project has numerous serious consequences for the ecology of the area and also would remove carbon-sequestering soil. MBCA's letter outlines the consequences and asks the Kern County Board of Supervisors not to approve the project. 
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Plant Spotlight: Desert Lavender

Photo Courtesy of John Doyen, CC 3.0 license
One lovely grey-leaved shrub for Morongo Basin landscapes is the California native Desert Lavender (Hyptis emoryi). This fast-growing shrub (given a small amount of irrigation) is a delicate, multi-trunk contrast in the garden to the broad leaves of agaves or the green of the creosote bush. 
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San Bernardino County Provides a Short Term Rental Map

San Bernardino County now provides an online Short Term Rental Map for viewing permitted short-term rentals (STRs) in unincorporated areas of the County. While permitted and well-managed STRs provide income for local residents and businesses, the effects on quality of life due to the escalating number of such properties that are unpermitted and/or not well-managed have been increasing. 
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MBCA Comments on Oberon Solar Project

Photo courtesy of the US Department of the Interior
The proposed Oberon Solar Project, to be located on undisturbed BLM land near Desert Center, has drawn a great deal of concern by numerous groups in addition to MCBA. While in a Development Focus Area (DFA) proposed under California's Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, the proponents are asking for amendments that contradict the Plan’s underlying rationale. In short, as MBCA’s Pat Flanagan writes in the MBCA letter, “It is not the role of the DRECP to bend to accommodate a project proposal. It is the project proponent’s role to accommodate the DRECP.”

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