Two news stories about OHV patrolling related to the Morongo Basin appeared recently. The Hi Desert Star reported that Lucas Niles, recently promoted to Captain of the Morongo Basin Station of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's office, "plans to continue to strengthen the department's off-highway-vehicle enforcement team." Through grant funding they have added a vehicle focused on patrolling illegal OHV hotspots and have increased staffing levels.Read more
Last fall the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned California to list the western Joshua tree as a threatened species under California's Endangered Species Act. On April 13 the state's Department of Fish and Wildlife agreed. The Department's Commissioners are scheduled to vote on the recommendation in June. You can find thorough coverage of the story on local radio KCDZ, on the Mojave Watch blog(no longer available), and in the Desert Sun and Los Angeles Times online newspapers.
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.
The National Environmental Policy Act has been a critical tool in defending the health and welfare of our Mojave Desert and its residents. The current Administration has proposed changes to NEPA regulations that decimate these protections. MBCA has submitted a comment letter against these changes that references local experiences with NEPA and its relationship to our mission to "advocate for the healthy desert." In addition, MBCA has signed on to a letter representing 328 organizations and tribal nations that comprehensively defines the value of NEPA and reasons for rejection of the proposed changes.
A comprehensive article about the Eagle Mountain pumped storage project and similar projects in other areas of the country was published by the Los Angeles Times. MBCA has had continuing concerns about the use of the old Eagle Mountain mine for many years, especially as it relates to the environmental health of Joshua Tree National Park (which is noted in the article). To review past MBCA News Updates related to Eagle Mountain, go to MBCA's Search page and type in "Eagle" or "Eagle Mountain" and you'll find several dozen links to past relevant MBCA News and EBlasts.
Many of the important messages delivered about sustainable tourism by MBCA's Annual Meeting keynote speakers David Smith and Chris Clarke are noted in reporter Sean Newell's January 25 Desert Sun article "Amid an increase in Joshua Tree-area visitors, conservationists talk 'sustainable tourism.'" We encourage readers to share the article widely, as part of the suggestion expressed by Chris Clarke: "Clarke mentioned that if only 10 percent of the annual park visitors became active in advocating for the desert, roughly 300,000 people could become involved."Read more
- Attend MBCA annual meeting Saturday January 25 2020!
- Daggett Solar Power Facility Update
- Survey regarding Solar Energy Development in Southern California
- BLM seeking nominations for Resource Advisory Councils
For a review of the status of large-scale solar projects at the start of 2020, read the Desert Sun's January 3 story "Solar surges in California Desert." It summarizes the ongoing issues of large-scale vs. rooftop solar, environmental and endangered species concerns, and includes a list of current projects and their status.