California Fish and Game Commission members were tied in their vote on whether to grant the western Joshua tree threatened species status on June 16, 2022. A tied vote by the Commission results in continuation of the tree’s candidacy status in the interim. Discussion of the species’ candidacy for listing under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA) will resume at a Commission meeting in October. The Commission also passed motions to solicit further tribal engagement on the listing and to gather information about the feasibility of developing a conservation plan for the species.
“Although it was ultimately a tied vote, we were heartened by the Commission’s thoughtful discussion today regarding the science behind the imperiled status of the western Joshua tree. We commend the Commission for their transparency, and welcome their decisions to expand tribal input and consider initiating a conservation plan. The western Joshua tree decision will ultimately have great bearing on the role of California’s Endangered Species Act in protecting species threatened by climate change. We hope the Commission choose to take bold, decisive action in applying CESA as a tool to protect our state’s most vulnerable species, including the western Joshua tree, against this extraordinary threat.”- Kelly Herbinson and Cody Hanford, Joint Executive Directors, Mojave Desert Land Trust