California Desert Plan Needs Your Support
From the California Wilderness Coalition, Ryan Henson, Senior Policy Director, February 22, 2018
Much of our 2017 was spent defending California’s national monuments from an unnecessary federal scheme to reduce their boundaries or revoke their designations completely. That fight is far from over, but now, with pressure from the Trump administration, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is putting yet another major conservation victory back on the table.
This time it’s the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP): the massive, multi-agency decision that helped set aside 4.2 million acres of conservation lands in the California desert and another 388,000 acres specifically for renewable energy use.
Reaching a final DRECP took eight years, a dozen public meetings, and 16,000 public comments. It carefully weighed the need for more renewable energy with the need to protect valuable and very fragile desert wildlife habitat. This is a top-down decision, not a grassroots-up one like the original plan.
Our supporters already know the somber, still, and untouched landscapes that the DRECP helped protect – places like the Chuckwalla Mountains, Malpais Mesa, Nopa Range, and Ship Mountains.
Another example is the Chemehuevi Valley, whose importance to the continued viability of the desert tortoise cannot be exaggerated. Biologists note that the region contains some of the highest densities of tortoise populations in the eastern Mojave Desert with a shocking 115 tortoises per square mile! Only 8% of their habitat in the Mojave exceed 100 of these Pleistocenic creatures per mile!
Moreover, the long DRECP process had buy-in from all stakeholders; case in point: no one sued after the decision was reached – a remarkable fact for any environmental decision these days. Tell the BLM this is an unnecessary waste of taxpayer money – the DRECP is the type of balanced, inclusive, regional-scale conservation that we need to uphold. Tell the BLM this is an unnecessary waste of taxpayer money – the DRECP is the type of balanced, inclusive, regional-scale conservation that we need to uphold.
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You can also read our Assistant Policy Director Linda Castro’s recent article on the subject and attend one of the many public meetings that start next week. Stand up for your desert and tell the BLM to keep the DRECP as is!
Ryan Henson, Senior Policy Director
The Rewilding Institute (TRI) mission is to explore and share tactics and strategies to advance continental-scale conservation and restoration in North America and beyond. We focus on the need for large carnivores and protected wildways for their movement; and we offer a bold, scientifically credible, practically achievable, and hopeful vision for the future of wild Nature and human civilization on planet Earth. Subscribe | Support