Conservation group salutes protections in Desert Plan

DRECP has promise to protect important California lands from development

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Sam Goldman, California Program Director, Conservation Lands Foundation, 415-743-0193; Sam@conservationlands.org

Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced a broad-based plan for California’s Mojave and Sonoran Desert region today that identifies both additions to National Conservation Lands and renewable energy development zones. Conservation areas added to the National Conservation Lands include many important habitats, corridors to ensure safe wildlife movement and culturally significant areas that can improve management of important desert resources.

From the spires of the Trona Pinnacles, to the great expanse of wildflowers in the Silurian Valley, to desert tortoise habitat in the Chuckwalla Bench, and the historic Patton Military Camps, the California desert has a myriad of special places worthy of protection. Petroglyphs, obsidian flakes and rock rings, and other remains are evidence of the peoples who have made the desert home for generations.

“We salute the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for significant additions to the National Conservation Lands,” said Sam Goldman, California Program Director of the Conservation Lands Foundation. “The public has demonstrated a strong desire to see wildlife corridors and culturally important areas protected—the key now will be to ensure the BLM has adequately protected all the places the public has deemed important for conservation.” California’s desert region faces major changes. California’s population is projected to surpass 50 million by 2050. Major energy industry interest in the area, new transmission lines, and roads are leading to the development of once undisturbed lands.

“I’ve spent many weeks traveling throughout these BLM lands in the California desert,” Goldman added. “The region’s majestic peaks, narrow canyons and spectacular night skies attract visitors from all over the world. Keeping these natural areas open for adventure and self-guided discovery is of key importance in this plan.”

The National Conservation Lands are the nation’s newest collection of protected public lands, comprising 28 million acres of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands, trails, and rivers. Designation of National Conservation Lands in the California desert was mandated by a law passed by Congress in 2009 to identify the most important conservation lands in the region. The BLM solicited public input on these areas over the last year as part of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) one of the most comprehensive and far-reaching planning efforts the agency has undertaken to date.

For more information on the National Conservation Lands, go to:
www.conservationlands.org

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