Friday, March 18, 2011

Mark Your Calendars...

A few opportunities coming up to enjoy the splendors of the outdoors or speak up for wise desert land use:

Mojave Desert Land Trust service events:
Either one of these events would be a great excuse to get out to the desert, see some spring wildflower blooms, camp, and volunteer! The Mojave Desert Land Trust (MDLT) asks that you pre-register by sending an email to Mizuki Seita at mizseita@gmail.com.  You can find more details at the MDLT website.

On 26 March, Saturday, you can volunteer to restore desert habitat in Lanfair, in the Mojave National Preserve.

On 23 April, Saturday, you can help with cleanup and restoration work at the Trust's recently acquired Quail Mountain property just next to Joshua Tree National Park.

Sierra Club Cactus Count:
The Desert Protective Council wants to remind you that there are in fact Saguaro cactus in California.  Many folks are used to seeing the various cholla cactus and barrel cactus in California's deserts, but few realize that the Saguaro can be found in the Whipple Mountains Wilderness area near the border with Arizona. 

From 26-28 March, the Sierra Club will support a count of the Saguaro cactus in a portion of the wilderness area.  The Club will meet on 26 March at the BLM Needles office before heading down to the Whipple Mountains and camp.  You can contact Vicky.Hoover@sierraclub.org, and the Desert Protective Council has posted some more details regarding the project on their site.

Public Comment Sessions for Marine Base Expansion:
As mentioned previously on this blog, the Marines have proposed withdrawing public land in order to expand the boundary of the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Base.  Much of the land is currently designated as the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) area.  Although some of the desert habitat is severely degraded due to the OHV use, the combat training would still have impacts on some areas of higher habitat quality.  You can review the draft environmental impact study here.  The Marine Corps will host three public meetings on the proposed expansion:
  • Tuesday, April 12, 2011, 5 to 9 p.m., Copper Mountain College, Bell Center Gym, 6162 Rotary Way, Joshua Tree, Calif.
  • Wednesday, April 13, 2011, 5 to 9 p.m., Ontario High School Gym, 901 W. Francis St, Ontario, Calif
  • Thursday, April 14, 2011, 5 to 9 p.m., Hilton Garden Inn Conference Center, 12603 Mariposa Rd., Victorville, Calif
Solar Programmatic EIS Comment Period Extension:
The Departments of Interior and Energy extended the comment period for the Solar Programmatic Environmental Impact Study, a policy to make 21 million acres of mostly pristine desert available to energy companies.  You now have until 16 April to submit comments.  You can read more about the shortcomings of the Programmatic EIS here. You can access and learn more about the Solar PEIS at the government website here.

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