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Showing posts with the label Mojave Ground Squirrel

Mohave Ground Squirrel In Peril; Conservation Plan Lagging Behind Threats

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In response to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service's (USFWS) initiation of a status review to consider listing the Mohave Ground Squirrel (MGS) under the Endangered Species Act, a representative from China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station expressed opposition to the listing of MGS.  The rational of the military was that military installations in the area support a healthy populations of the MGS and are participating in conservation measures being considered through the Desert Managers Group to preserve the species through regional management.  Unfortunately, this opposition to the listing of the MGS rings hollow, since regional efforts have been slow, and the military's efforts within DoD installations do not address the threats posed to the species on 2/3 of its range outside of military land.

Mohave Ground Squirrel Thriving on Military Bases?

Although studies submitted indicate that the Mohave Ground Squirrel does have core populations located on or near China Lake Nava…

Mohave Ground Squirrel Considered for Endangered Species Listing

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The Department of Interior is currently considering a petition by Defenders of Wildlife to list the Mohave Ground Squirrel as an endangered species.  The Mohave Ground Squirrel--whose range spans portions of the western and north-western Mojave Desert--is currently listed as a threatened species under the California Endangered Species Act, but it is not recognized under the Federal Endangered Species Act.

I have to take this opportunity to correct mistaken references to the Mohave Ground Squirrel (MGS; alternatively: Mojave Ground Squirrel) on this blog as an "endangered species," even though it has not technically been listed as such under Federal authorities. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)--part of the Department of the Interior--has deemed the petition contains substantial information indicating that listing the MGS as an endangered species may be warranted.    According to the Federal Register (April 27, 2010; Vol 75, Number 80), the USFWS is soliciting scie…

Solar Millennium Intent on Building on Poorly Chosen Ridgecrest Site

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Despite an array of potentially disastrous impacts on Mojave Desert species, water resources for the community of Ridgecrest, and even the risk of spreading Valley Fever among residents, Solar Millennium LLC appears intent to build the proposed Ridgecrest Solar Power project.   During a 17 May status conference, Solar Millennium demanded clarity from the CEC and wildlife agencies on specifically what mitigation measures could be instituted to overcome the biological impacts.  I previously posted on the Ridgecrest project in March after the California Energy Commission (CEC) issued a preliminary assessment recommending against construction on the site, claiming that no mitigation measures--habitat restoration, translocation of tortoises, etc--would adequately make up for the damage Solar Millennium would incur on our natural resources.

The site is home to a high density population of desert tortoise--to include a healthy juvenile tortoise population--and the site functions as a key cor…

CEC Staff Recommends Against Ridgecrest Solar Power Project

In the California Energy Commission's (CEC) Staff Assessment and Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Ridgecrest Solar Power Project, the CEC recommended against the project, citing the potential damage to biological resources could not be mitigated.   Solar Millenium proposed building a 250MW dry-cooled solar energy plant on a 3,995 acre right-of-way just west of Ridgecrest -- approximately 2,000 acres would be disturbed for the site construction and operation.  Overall, the CEC Staff's recommendation is a very positive sign that the certification process can account for the need to preserve wilderness and biological treasures in the Mojave Desert.  Despite the Staff's assessment, the final decision will not be made until after the CEC holds evidentiary hearings and the presiding member makes a final decision.  The staff assessment is not a final verdict.

As mentioned in an earlier post examining preliminary biological surveys of the site, the Ridgecrest project w…