- RECE (Renewable Energy and Conservation Element): Supervisors Public Hearing, Tuesday, August 8th, 1 PM
The Morongo Basin is now home to an international Dark Sky Park. Joshua Tree National Park achieved their long-time goal of Dark Sky Park status bestowed by the International Dark Sky Association (IDA). This significant achievement is the result of several years of work by Park staff, providing data and receiving IDA representatives for review.
MBCA engaged professional planner and former Advisory Board member Stephanie Weigel, AICP, to work with Directors Pat Flanagan, Meg Foley, Ruth Rieman, and Marina West, and create a comprehensive analysis of the County's final draft of the Renewable Energy and Conservation Element. A theme that appears throughout this detailed comment letter is the need for “clear and unambiguous definitions” and “stronger language in policy statements” that will lead to an effective Development Code. We encourage you to read the letter before attending the August 8 Public Comment Meeting about the RECE, and to add your own comments at that meeting. The meeting will be videoconferenced at the Bob Burke Government Center in Joshua Tree, beginning at 1:00 pm.
In early June, MBCA sent to the state Assembly's Committee on Water, Parks, and Wildlife a comment letter in support of SB 249 - Off Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Act. It was also signed by representatives of the Alliance for Responsible Recreation and Community Off-Highway Vehicle Watch.
MBCA has signed on to a letter initiated by the National Parks Conservation Association in support of California Legislation (AB 1000 - Friedman - "Desert Groundwater Protection") that seeks to increase California's involvement in the Cadiz project by requiring "a state review process for potential groundwater extraction projects in the California desert." Some alterations in the bill are expected during its consideration in order to prevent onerous state review requirements for local water district projects. We will update you as this bill progresses.
We 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.
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.
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.