Reintroducing the California Desert Protection Act of 2010

Now that the 111th Congress has come and gone, legislation that was not passed last year must either be reintroduced in the 112th Congress or it will never see the light of day.  Senator Diane Feinstein's California Desert Protection Act of 2010 (CDPA 2010) was introduced last year but because of a busy legislative calendar it was never passed.   We want Senator Feinstein to continue working as an advocate for the conservation of California's pristine desert lands, so we are urging her office to reintroduce CDPA 2010 this year.

If reintroduced and passed, the bill would create two new national monuments in California's desert, and set aside or expand wilderness areas throughout the Mojave and Sonoran Desert.  The legislation is necessary now more than ever given the threat of rapid energy development, and the decline of the threatened desert tortoise.

Take Action:
  • Send an e-mail (sample below) thanking Senator Feinstein for her support for desert conservation, and requesting that she reintroduce the California Desert Protection Act of 2010 in the new Congress.  
  • Alternatively, you can send Senator Feinstein a letter (sample below) to her California office at:
The Honorable Dianne Feinstein
United States Senate
11111 Santa Monica Boulevard
Suite 915
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Copied below is a sample letter that you can draw from, provided by the California Wilderness Coalition.  To learn more about the legislation, you can visit a website set up by the Coalition dedicated to the California Desert Protection Act.  There is also an overview of the legislation on this blog.

----Sample Letter---- Feel free to add personal stories or photos-

Dear Senator Feinstein,
I am writing to thank you for your long standing commitment to preserving California's wild desert lands for future generations. Your leadership in the 111th Congress with the California Desert Protection Act of 2010 was deeply appreciated. I strongly urge you to please reintroduce this important bill in the new Congress as soon as possible to protect the incredible array of beautiful desert lands for wildlife and people.

As you know, the California desert is under great pressure from renewable energy, irresponsible off road vehicle use, and military base expansion. Please act quickly to preserve our wilderness.
In particular, please include in your legislation:

The Avawatz Mountains as wilderness. This magnificent mountain rage is home to herds of bighorn sheep and colorful canyons. It is a great place for backcountry hiking and camping. Nine natural springs can be found throughout the area and in the springtime, wildflowers emerge along the many washes.

The Soda Mountains as wilderness. This beautiful area includes the Cronese lakes, a pair of Pleistocene lakebeds with ancient Native American village sites. The lower elevations include prime desert tortoise habitat and elegant sand dune formations.

The additions to the Kingston Range wilderness. This area contains one of the highest concentrations of endangered species and unusual plant assemblages in the California desert, due to its extremely varied terrain and unusual mineral formations.

The additions to the Golden Valley wilderness. This picturesque valley is flanked by hills that appear "painted" due to black rocks that form streaked lines along the hillsides. Desert tortoise and Mojave ground squirrel abound throughout the valley floor and in the Spring Golden Valley lives up to its name with a floral carpeting of Desert Sunflowers, California Poppy, Mariposa Lilly, Bluebell and Mustard.

The Great Falls Basin as wilderness. This unique natural rock catchment basin collects the water from springs high above the desert floor. Water gurgles and flows down through enormous rock slabs into the desert sands below. Plants including yucca, mountain mahogany, pinyon pine and juniper are scattered throughout the upper reached of the basin.

The additions to Indian Pass wilderness and Buzzard's Peak. Many desert creatures make their home among the cholla and beavertail cactuses, ocotillos, palo verdes, acacias, ironwood trees and the rare California ditaxis. Desert Tortoise, Yuma king snakes, Colorado River toad, Great Plains toad, tree lizard, burros, mule deer, and mountain lions all thrive in the rocky outcroppings and sandy washes.
The Milpitas Wash as wilderness. Milpitas Wash supports the largest Sonoran Desert woodland in the North America. Most of the trees are legumes: mesquites, acacias, palo verdes, and ironwoods; and there are also desert willows. The abundance of old-growth trees, with most standing over 15 feet high, gives the area a lush character rarely found in the desert.

The additions to the Palo Verde wilderness. These striking mountains provide habitat for Desert bighorn sheep, desert tortoise, coyote, dove, quail, mountain lions, and diamondback rattlers. In lower elevations, Palo verde trees, mesquite, and ironwood can be found. Saguaro cactus, rarely seen in California, grow along the south eastern margin of the wilderness.

Thank you in advance for your vision and dedication to the California desert.



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