News Release-California Desert Plan a win for Renewable Energy and Conservation
Contact: Sam Goldman, 415-743-0193; Danielle Murray, 302-367-8076
BLM releases landscape level planning for roughly 1/5 of California, balances need for renewable development with the conservation of desert habitat
SACRAMENTO, Calif., (Nov. 10, 2015) – Earlier today, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released the final Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (Plan). This plan represents the agency’s commitment to balancing the development of renewable energy with the long-term protection of California Desert’s unique wildlife, cultural resources and natural areas.
The Plan, developed in concert with other federal and state agencies, will guide BLM in its management of almost ten million acres in the California Desert. The Plan was developed in anticipation of growing pressures to develop renewable energy in the region. It strives to ensure development takes place in appropriate areas while advancing conservation.
“This plan is a win for California. Not only does it help the State meet renewable energy goals, it also protects some of California’s best places – Lands that provide a recreational escape and protects important wildlife species,” said Doug Wheeler, former California Secretary of Resources.
As part of this plan, the BLM will protect some of the most ecologically important regions in the California desert as permanent additions to the National Conservation Lands. These areas include the Amargosa River Basin, Silurian Valley, Chuckwalla Bench. These are places that are loved by desert residents and visitors alike. Known for their tranquility and recreation opportunities, places that are now protected like the Silurian Valley are home to desert tortoise, desert big horn sheep and nesting golden eagles. These areas will become part of the growing system of protected lands around the west that are set aside for conservation and managed by the BLM as National Conservation Lands.
“These permanent additions to the National Conservation Lands will ensure that while the communities in the desert continue to grow and renewable development takes place, Californian’s still have places to explore and that that large open space will remain open and free,” said Sam Goldman, California Director at the Conservation Lands Foundation.
BLM’s authority to protect these ecologically significant areas as part of the National Conservation Lands came from a directive from Congress as part of the 2009 Omnibus Public Lands Bill. The BLM expects to finalize this plan in early 2016.
About the Conservation Lands Foundation
The Conservation Lands Foundation works to protect, restore and expand the National Conservation Lands so they will endure from generation to generation. The National Conservation Lands are 31 million acres of the most ecologically, culturally and historically significant public lands and waterways managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Founded in 2000, they have joined the ranks of our national parks and wildlife refuges as guardians of our nation’s heritage and drivers of the country’s $646 billion outdoor recreation economy. In California, the National Conservation Lands include nearly 5 million acres of public lands and waters including national monuments, national conservation areas, wilderness areas, wild and scenic rivers and national scenic and historic trails.