The Bureau of Land Management announced on April 7 that Mojave Trails National Monument is one of five western public lands areas that will receive Land and Water Conservation Funding. The BLM Press Release notes that the funds will conserve wildlife habitat, "secure public access to a variety of recreational activities and set aside exceptional places for all Americans to enjoy.”
MBCA is among 34 organizations signing a letter in support of AB 223 which would make it illegal to harvest Dudleya plants in California without a permit or landowner permission. Poaching of this native plant has increased greatly in recent years, and it needs protection against possible extinction. The plants are commonly known as "liveforevers" in California. Learn more at the Dudleya Protection page on the California Native Plant Society website.
MBCA features prominently in an article and photo series by the Desert Sun about the Auto Camp Airsteam Resort under construction in Joshua Tree. The news article title aptly describes the concern: Glamping company brings Airstreams to Joshua Tree. Can development and nature coexist? The article includes comments from MBCA President Steve Bardwell, and he and Board member Pat Flanagan are included in the photo series accompanying the article.
The Center for Biological Diversity has filed a lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management in response to an action taken in the final days of the prior administration that would ease the path for the Cadiz Water Project. A right-of-way for the water mining scheme was granted without any public review. Read the news item by local radio KCDZ 107.7 and the press release from the Center for Biological Diversity for the latest information on this decade-long battle against draining important desert water reserves.
In the latest update from the Joshua Tree Genome Project, the research team reports that they have been planting Joshua tree seedlings across the Mojave Desert. In this stage of their research, they seek to learn about the relative effects of genetics and environment on the trees' development. On their website you can learn more about the science, the scientists, and the partners supporting the project, which include the Joshua Tree National Park Association and the California Native Plant Society.
The recording of the Up Close Show interview with MBCA President Steve Bardwell and Secretary Laraine Turk is now available on the KCDZ 107.7 website. Topics covered in the March 12 interview include the Joshua tree as candidate for threatened status, renewable energy issues, the proposed County dark sky ordinance, and climate change. Early in the interview, News Director Gary Daigneault shares a story about his own interaction with MBCA's Founder Susan Luckie Reilly.
MBCA has joined over 70 organizations signing a letter addressed to Governor Newsom and the California Public Utilities Commission stating concern about changes to net metering. Net metering allows rooftop solar owners connected to the grid to receive bill credit for energy produced beyond their own needs. This does not work to the advantage of investor-owned utilities that are pressing for changes. The letter also encourages more solar battery storage and rooftop solar growth with extra support for low-income communities.
On February 17 the Department of the Interior revoked the eleventh-hour amendment to California's Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan by the outgoing administration that would have greatly reduced protected lands. This Desert Sun article provides more history and details, and California Energy Commissioner Karen Douglas has released this statement of recognition and appreciation.
We are grateful to the Mojave Desert Land Trust for assembling and publishing a comprehensive guide to the new regulations regarding Western Joshua trees.
Last fall the California Fish and Game Commission voted to advance this iconic Mojave desert plant as a candidate for threatened species status. There is a one-year assessment period when special regulations regarding their movement or destruction are in place.
At their February 4th meeting, the four San Bernardino County Planning Commission members present (Weldy, Stoffel, Haughey, Gongora) voted to defer any decision on the recommendation to adopt the proposed Light Trespass Ordinance. They will schedule a Workshop on the issue at a future Planning Commission meeting. Commissioners had many concerns that Land Use Services staff were unable to answer to their satisfaction. More background and links can be found in the first article of our February 1 Eblast or our January 31 News Update.