Cima Dome

If you're looking for a good day hike, try Teutonia Peak trail located in the northern portion of Mojave National Preserve.  The photo above was taken from the trail, with a portion of the Cima Dome in the distance.

San Bernardino County Easing On ORV Rules?

As soon as 26 January (delayed vote) the San Bernardino County supervisors may vote to repeal an existing county ordinance (Ordinance 3973) that requires a permit for gatherings of 10 or more Off-Road Vehicle users on private property. This issue should fall into the property rights and public nuisance debate more than a Mojave Desert wilderness preservation issue, but it's a good hook to examine the current state of regulation and enforcement in ORV use in the Mojave Desert area in general. As the Hi-Desert Star newspaper reported earlier this month, only six individuals have applied for the permits over the past 3 years.  Almost certainly more people have held gatherings that would meet the permit threshold that did not apply.   San Bernardino County may repeal the ordinance and it would take a great deal of pressure to argue that it remain in place, quite simply because it is most likely not an efficient mechanism to control or deter the public nuisance caused by large gathe

Desert Rain

For those note in Southern California this week, the Mojave Desert is receiving a good soaking from mother nature, hopefully boosting our chances for a colorful spring. Here is a shot of Kelso Dunes taken from the Quail Basin trail head on 16 January -- just a day before the storms hit.

Ivanpah Wildlife, Visual Resources and Botany Hearings Completed

According to someone testifying to protect rare natural resources in the Mojave Desert at the California Energy Commission (CEC) evidentiary hearings for the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS), the 11 January CEC hearing for the Ivanpah Solar Energy site lasted until nearly 10:30pm, and covered visual resources and the impacts on wildlife.  Today's hearing was scheduled to address botanical resources, which may present the greatest challenge to the CEC and BLM's consideration of granting right-of-way to BrightSource Energy, since the site selected by BrightSource happens to host several sensitive and rare plants. The CEC Staff rebuttal to comments from environmental groups and BrightSource Energy spent considerable time addressing arguments requesting alternative site considerations and changes to the mitigation efforts directed at special status plant species. Most environmental inervenors argued for more effective measures to ensure that construction at Ivanp

Unfair Zoning in Fairview Valley?

An article in the Victor Valley Daily Press recently highlighted that 11 January was significant for another reason in the Mojave Desert (for the other reason, read here ).  The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors designated 11 January as the last day for the public to comment on the environmental impact statement for the proposed development of a sub-division in Fairview Valley, located within the Apple Valley sphere of influence but in area where humans are outnumbered by Jackrabbits. View Fairview Valley in a larger map The Strata Equity Group proposes building nearly 3,000 homes in the area over the next 20-25 years, which would severely burden city services, existing transportation infrastructure, and add noise and air pollution.  The overall impact would be a dramatic shift for the way of life of current Fairview Valley residents, who cherish the seclusion and open vistas of the Mojave Desert on the fringes of the Victor Valley. Although this is partly an environm

Ivanpah Solar Energy Hearings Progress

For the many that were not able to attend the 11 January California Energy Commission (CEC) hearing addressing the Ivanpah Solar Energy hearing today, we will have to wait until the staff posts the comments and outcome of decisions regarding the impact of the Ivanpah site on the Mojave Desert 's biological resources.  A review of the CEC Staff's initial rebuttal to the comments from BrightSource Energy request to water down many of the requirements holds promise that, even if Ivanpah is allowed to move forward, neither the State or the BLM will subsidize BrightSource for their poor choice in locations. You may have read in an earlier Mojave Desert Blog posting about BrightSource Energy's complaints about the conditions imposed by the CEC, some of which demanded that the company mitigate for the loss of desert tortoise habitat, institute a raven management plan and a desert tortoise relocation plan.  The CEC rebuttal appears to hold fast to most of the biological resourc

Mojave Desert Musings

Some noteworthy broadcasts in the Mojave Desert this week: 1.) Desert wildflower watchers are forecasting a great spring for the desert blooms.  You can read up on regular status reports on DesertUSA .  You can also learn more about blooming periods by region at the Digital Desert's website . 2.) The New York Times Greenwire Blog posted an assessment of Feinstein's proposed California Desert Protection Act 2010 (CDPA 2010), emphasizing the legislation's intention to encourage more renewable energy development on military bases in the Mojave Desert (Fort Irwin, 29 Palms, Edwards AFB). 3.) A bird count sponsored by the National Audobon Society at Joshua Tree National Park counted a total of 3,067 birds across nearly 50 different species according to the Hi-Desert Star. 4.) The California Energy Commission (CEC) began its evidentiary hearings on the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating Site, and the hearings are set to continue on 11 January, with presentations from the