MDLT has acquired a 630-acre property that will help secure a major wildlife corridor between Joshua Tree National Park and the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center. The property features pristine land with desert tortoise and pinyon-juniper habitat, while also offering public access opportunities.
The Mojave Desert Land Trust (MDLT) has acquired a property bordering Joshua Tree National Park that could provide access to hiking and climbing opportunities inside the park. The “Desert Knoll” property is in an ideal location for future public access opportunities given its location between the city of Twentynine Palms and Joshua Tree National Park’s North Entrance. Desert Knoll is a 20-acre parcel that boasts high quality desert tortoise habitat adjacent to additional habitat inside the park, as well as native jojoba, cholla cactus, and catclaw acacia populations. Vehicle access is via a single-lane dirt road off Utah Trail.
The Department of Interior has finally released its report on proposed boundary and management changes to the 27 national monuments under review since April 2017. The report outlines changes to ten of the monuments. The remainder, including Mojave Trails, remain under review. Castle Mountains National Monument, not included in the original list, was later recommended for review by Interior Secretary Zinke.
The Mojave Desert Land Trust (MDLT) is working to acquire a property in south Joshua Tree on the border of the national park. Because of the geological and botanical properties of the area, MDLT has named the property “Juniper Canyon.” Juniper Canyon features 630 acres of pristine desert lands abundant with desert tortoise and pinyon-juniper habitat near the remote Covington Flats entrance to Joshua Tree National Park.
The Mojave Desert Seed Bank has come a long way since the first fishhook cactus seeds were collected from one of MDLT’s protected properties 18 months ago. Now with over 320 collections, the seed bank has launched a membership program. Founding members, including outdoor champions Patagonia and renowned naturalist Robin Kobaly, were honored on Sunday.
The Mojave Desert Land Trust has issued a statement in support of the landmark bicameral Environmental Justice Act of 2017, introduced by U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and U.S. Rep. Raul Ruiz, M.D. (D-CA) on October 23, 2017. This bill enables those most disproportionately at risk to bring lawsuits directly against an entity or agency based on the Civil Rights Act, places a greater requirement on polluters to consider the ambient and cumulative impacts on air quality, and obliges agencies to report to Congress on certain metrics related to regulated pollutants.
MDLT is troubled to learn of a Department of Interior decision that weakens environmental protections around a controversial water project in the Mojave Desert. MDLT strongly disagrees with the Bureau of Land Management ruling made public Monday stating Cadiz Inc does not need a federal permit to build a 43-mile pipeline along a railroad right-of-way situated on public lands in the Mojave.
The Mojave Trails National Monument remains on the White House chopping block – despite not being on the list of ten monuments named in leaked recommendations for change. The leaked draft report by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke makes it clear that the Trump Administration is preparing for an unprecedented attack on protected public lands that could result in the destruction of Native American archaeological sites, widespread loss of wildlife habitat, and economic harm to local businesses.
Today was the deadline for Secretary of Interior Zinke to release his recommendations on the national monuments under review. During the review process, 2.7 million people submitted public comment. Despite the public support for national monuments, and the public’s interest in this review process, Secretary Zinke had not released his recommendations to the public, and only privately submitted them to the White House. According to a Department of the Interior (DOI) press release, Secretary Zinke will not eliminate any national monuments, but he plans to reduce an undisclosed number of them. The public is left to guess which of the national monuments under review will be reduced.
Rep. Paul Cook has redoubled his efforts to adjust the boundaries of Mojave Trails National Monument while adding proposed changes to Castle Mountains National Monument. Rep. Paul Cook has suggested removing the southern portion of Mojave Trails National Monument, including important wilderness areas like the Cadiz Dunes and Sheephole Valley, and historic World War II training camps Iron Mountain and Granite. The proposed changes remove about 500,000 acres from the current boundaries. Castle Mountains National Monument, which was not originally included in the review, was nevertheless mentioned in a letter from Rep. Paul Cook to Secretary Zinke for the mining interests in the area.