Annual report: Mojave Desert Land Trust reaches new conservation milestones

For immediate release

June 14, 2019

Contact: Jessica Dacey, Director of Communications, Phone: 760-820-2275, Email: jessica@mdlt.org

Joshua Tree, CA – Twelve years after being founded by a local group of concerned citizens, the Mojave Desert Land Trust has stepped into a leading role in California desert conservation. The nonprofit’s annual report, released Friday, illustrates the scale of its acquisition and stewardship work in the Mojave Desert, the speed at which its plant conservation program is growing, and its dedication to sound policy work and public engagement.

The report release coincides with several conservation milestones: the Land Trust is on track to reach 80,000 acres of acquired and preserved land across the Mojave Desert in the coming months; MDLT’s seed bank, created in 2016, has just logged its 500th collection of seeds; and MDLT has now donated more tracts of land to the National Park Service than any other nonprofit in the country since 2006.

A highlight of 2018 was the acquisition of 7,401 acres across the Mojave Desert, including MDLT’s biggest conservation project to date, Palisades Ranch. This 1,647-acre property spans 3.5 miles of the Mojave River and includes 39 protected wildlife species.

Stewardship continued to play a vital role in restoring land health. During the year, MDLT’s land stewards worked with volunteers and partners to remove seven tons of solid and hazardous waste from Mojave National Preserve, Mojave Trails National Monument, and its Morongo Basin community lands. In all, the team stewarded and restored 27,000 acres in 2018.

Of the 79,607 acres acquired by MDLT since 2006, 60% have been conveyed to federal agencies. In 2018, the team successfully conveyed 2,947 acres to the Bureau of Land Management, including in areas of critical environmental concern and wilderness. 

MDLT’s Mojave Desert Seed Bank now includes 178 taxa, five California Species of Special Concern, and another rare species, purple nerve spring parsley (Cymopteris multinervatus). In 2018, the nursery grew 9,706 native plants for habitat restoration projects and local use. 

In outreach, MDLT initiated a Desert Discovery Field Studies program for middle and high schools, an immersive after-school learning lab about desert conservation and the Mojave Desert ecosystem.

Volunteers were an integral part of MDLT’s operations in 2018, donating the equivalent of $114,000 to land stewardship, plant conservation, and outreach activities.

Total revenue and support for MDLT in 2018 was $5,211,018.

“The 2018 annual report reflects the scope of the work we are doing here at the Mojave Desert Land Trust. We are thrilled to have acquired and conveyed so much land to our federal partners, increasing the integrity of protected landscapes. We continue to deepen our mission with our stewardship, education, plant conservation, and policy work. Our vision to protect and conserve the most important natural and cultural resources of the Mojave Desert continues.” – Geary Hund, Executive Director, MDLT

The Mojave Desert Land Trust (MDLT) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with the mission to protect and care for lands with natural, scenic, and cultural value within the Mojave Desert. Since its founding in 2006 the land trust has conserved more than 79,607 acres, donating more tracts of land to the National Park Service in the last decade than any other organization. In addition to acquiring land, the land trust established a seed bank to ensure the preservation of native species. MDLT operates an onsite nursery at its Joshua Tree headquarters which propagates native species for ecosystem restoration. MDLT educates and advocates for the conservation of the desert, involving hundreds of volunteers in our work. For more information, visit mdlt.org.

Access the interactive report here.