You often read about “wildlife corridors” in MBCA’s emails, comment letters, and resource materials. We have relied on the work of South Coast Wildlands (SCWildlands.org) for our understanding of these corridors or "linkages." SCWildlands is a non-profit organization “dedicated to ensuring functional habitat connectivity across diverse wildland networks.” Their mission is “… to protect and restore systems of connected wildlands that support native wildlife and the ecosystems upon which they rely.
The research performed by SCWildlands is a key element of the Morongo Basin Conservation Priorities Map. SCWildlands prepared a well-researched “Linkage Design” for important native species in the Morongo Basin area, showing habitat appropriate for the movement of the Basin’s native species. Following is a description of their research:
The Linkage Design for the Joshua Tree - Twentynine Palms Connection encompasses basin and range topography with an impressive array of geological formations and broad alluvial fans or bajadas. It includes several major swaths of habitat to accommodate diverse species and ecosystem functions. The two areas targeted to be served by the linkage, Joshua Tree National Park and the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC) at Twentynine Palms, support a great diversity of species. Joshua Tree provides habitat for more than 250 resident and migratory birds, 52 mammals, 44 reptiles, 3 amphibians, and more than 700 vascular plant species, while MCAGCC supports nearly 400 plant species and more than 250 vertebrate wildlife species.
Thanks to local resident and KCET writer Chris Clarke for this poster.
Unique Desert Animals of Morongo Basin
Enjoy these informative essays on several unique desert animals of our Morongo Basin. They were written by MBCA Director Pat Flanagan, who prepared them for the 29 Palms Inn to share with visitors who want to better understand the unusual creatures that they might find in our desert.
Posted by Laraine Turk · November 23, 2020 10:29 AM
Earlier this fall (September 3), MBCA joined with 23 other nonprofit organizations in a letter to CalTrans officials about the planned High Speed Rail Project from southern California to Las Vegas. Known wildlife corridors are in its path, including for bighorn sheep, so it is important that over-crossings and under-crossings are incorporated as part of the project's development, which is the message outlined in the coalition letter.
The California Fish and Game Commission has temporarily designated the desert tortoise as endangered, a step beyond its current status as threatened. Similar to the action reported in our most recent News Update about the status of the western Joshua tree, a year-long review period will precede a permanent designation. Read more in this LA Times article.
Posted by Laraine Turk · September 05, 2020 2:11 PM
MBCA has joined a coalition of 25 non-profit organizations requesting that wildlife over-passes and under-passes be constructed as part of the XpressWest High Speed Rail Project planned for Victor Valley to Las Vegas. The letter to CalTrans, which is the agency contracting with the developer for right of way across the I-15 median, explains the need and notes related legislation in both Congress and the California Legislature.
MBCA has sent a letter to the California Fish and Game Commission recommending a review of the status of mountain lion populations in the Southern California and Central Coast mountain areas. There are genetic connections between those beleaguered populations and lions known to be in Joshua Tree National Park. Such a review should lead to listing those mountain lions as "threatened" under the California Endangered Species Act.
Posted by Laraine Turk · September 12, 2019 11:45 AM
Local resident Tom O'Key, who initiated and was critical to the success of the statewide campaign against bobcat trapping several years ago (see MBCA News Update "End of Bobcat Trapping") has been a key part of a followup effort to end all fur trapping in California. That campaign was successful and Tom is quoted several times in this LA Times article describing the Governor's signing of this first-in-America bill.
The 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.