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Showing posts with the label Victor Valley

Time for Desert Communities to Take PRIDE

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The Daily Press and residents of the Victor Valley in the western Mojave Desert are issuing a PRIDE (People Ready to Improve the Desert Environment) challenge to address the many facets of blight that are evident in the region.   As a kid playing in the open desert across the street from my Victorville home in the 1980s and 90s, I would find trash dumped by residents too lazy or cheap to responsibly dispose of tires, furniture and other refuse. 

I have written before about the need for desert communities to respect themselves and surrounding wildlands, in part by minimizing our impact on desert habitat and keeping both the desert and our cities clean.  The lack of respect by some leaves an impression for all to see, but how long we tolerate the mess is ultimately up to all of us.  In a single hour, my sister and I were able to fill five large bags  of trash that we removed from a small patch of Joshua tree and pinyon juniper habitat in the western part of the Victor Valley.  Not lo…

Wind Developer Targets Victor Valley's Juniper Flats

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Chicago-based energy company E ON Climate and Renewables is planning to install 42 wind turbines, each over 400 feet tall, on the Juniper Flats area of Victor Valley.  The company has been testing wind resources in the area since 2010, and submitted notice to the Bureau of Land Management in January of its intent to begin the environmental review process to build the industrial-scale project.  The current right-of-way application spans over 23 square miles of public lands at the foot of the San Bernardino National Forest.

Juniper Flats are a prized recreation area for residents of the Victor Valley, where many enjoy hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, hang-gliding, and 4x4 driving on designated routes.  The area features riparian habitat that attracts a range of wildlife, including great horned owls, vireos, coyotes, jackrabbits, and an often beautiful wildflower display in the spring.  Community volunteers and the Friends of Juniper Flats have partnered with the Bureau of Land…

Victorville Chases Fool's Gold

The City of Victorville, one of the largest population centers in the western Mojave Desert, is nearing insolvency under nearly $500 million of debt, according to the Wall Street Journal.  Victorville has mishandled millions of dollars of bonds accounts and shifted funds without city council authorization.   The city has already slashed many of its employees from the payroll, and many citizens complain of deteriorating infrastructure and crime.  Nevertheless, Victorville is still investing in ambitious and unnecessary plans, such as a 32 square mile expansion and the High Desert Corridor (E-220), a new highway connecting Lancaster and Victorville.   Most residents probably would prefer the City reinvest in existing infrastructure and open up a new east-west route within the city (the Nisqualli overpass) to alleviate burdensome traffic before expanding the city limits and building an unwanted highway.

Victorville officials ran up some of the 500 million in debt when consultants promise…

Desert Blooms

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My brother Todd took some photos during a recent bike ride in the desert around Hesperia.  The rains this year seem to have prolonged a colorful Mojave landscape.

Victorville City Council Delays Consideration of CDPA 2010

The Victorville City Council once again considered whether or not to support or oppose Senator Feinstein's proposed California Desert Protection Act of 2010 (CDPA 2010).  Once again--for the third time--the Council decided to delay taking a vote on the matter, citing the need for more information.  Several citizens present at the meeting voiced support for the legislation, and one citizen from Victorville opposed the legislation. 

Although ultimately whether or not a city council opposes or supports the bill will not directly impact the legislation, the measure of local support for the legislation will be used to indirectly bolster or erode the legislation's chances when it comes to a vote for committee debate in Washington.  For that reason, if you support the legislation you should contact your local officials and let them know. For the City of Victorville, you can obtain the councilmember's email addresses on their website.

Apple Valley Considering CDPA 2010 tonight; Victorville Council on March 2nd

The Apple Valley Town Council will reconsider its position on the California Desert Protection Act of 2010 (CDPA 2010) at tonight's meeting, and the Victorville City Council will consider its position on CDPA on 2 March.  As of 16 February Victorville Mayor Rudy Cabriales was not sure he had enough information to make an informed decision, and Council Member Caldwell was opposed, citing concerns that military training and mining interests would be impeded, according to minutes from the February meeting.

Vote on Victorville Expansion Postponed

The Victorville City Council postponed a vote on a proposal to expand the City's sphere of influence by up to 32 square miles, according to the minutes of its 5 January meeting.  The proposal will now be addressed on 19 January after the Council discusses the proposal with San Bernardino County and the City of Apple Valley.  You can read more about the original proposal on this post.  A review of the City's proposal suggests the City seeks to maintain some open space within the proposed expansion, although the intent to spur more residential development along more of the Mojave River.

Here is an approximate reflection of the area that could be affected by the expansions of both Victorville and Helendale.


View Victorville-Helendale Expansions in a larger map

Victorville Plans 32 Square Mile Expansion

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In what would be one of the most significant municipal expansions in the West Mojave Desert in recent years, the City of Victorville will vote tonight (05 January) to expand its sphere of influence by up to 32 square miles.


The City's vote may be hurried by a similar plan by the City of Helendale to also expand its sphere of influence, conflicting with Victorville's proposal.  Victorville officials have already expressed their desire to bring resident development to the land, although San Bernardino County has expressed reservations with the extent of Victorville's proposed expansion, fearing that mineral and natural resources would be abandoned in favor of more residential growth.

Victorville's proposed sprawl is unfortunate given that the city can barely keep up with it's current growth, with rising crime and poor transportation infrastructure.  An expansion of the city's sphere of influence would only promote more unabated growth--abandoning the High Desert&#…

Solar Energy Development in the Mojave

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Why Renewable Energy Requires A Thoughtful and Balanced Approach in the Desert
Even though desert plants and animals are a tough bunch, climate change is still a threat to the desert as much as it is to the polar ice caps. Wildlife in the deserts are so uniquely adapted and have balanced their ecosystem in such hostile conditions that even slight changes can be disruptive. The struggle between desert wildlife and the harsh conditions it contends with year-round is a reason to respect Mojave, where everyday of survival is a triumph. Consider how hot it can get in the Victor Valley on an average summer day? Anywhere from 95-112 degrees F, right? The temperatures are even higher closer to the ground in the desert, so if you are a desert tortoise, leopard lizard or a fledgling desert shrub you face temperatures that can reach 140 degrees F (or 60 degrees Celsius).

So what difference does a little bit of global warming make? One recent study funded by the National Science Foundation …