Statement from the Conservation Lands Foundation on Today’s DRECP Announcement

For Immediate Release
March 10, 2015
Contact:  Sam Goldman, California Program Director, sam@conservationlands.org
(415) 669-4531

 Change in process could move forward important conservation actions and bring clarity to desert planning

 SAN FRANCISCO, CA (March 10, 2015) – The Conservation Lands Foundation welcomed today’s decision from California and Federal agency planners to move forward with a land use plan amendment from the Bureau of Land Management regarding the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP), separating this process from DRECP’s decisions on private lands.

“We are encouraged that federal and state agencies are taking a landscape approach to planning,” said Sam Goldman, California Director of the Conservation Lands Foundation. “The California desert contains an abundance of important natural and cultural areas that deserve to be protected as part of our National Conservation Lands. It’s important to pass down these areas to future generations undiminished.”

Today’s announcement streamlines the DRECP planning process. It gives stakeholders more time to determine the actions necessary for mitigation from private land development while allowing BLM to move ahead with its energy siting and conservation plans for public lands.

Frazier Haney, Conservation Director of the Mojave Desert Land Trust, applauded the conservation actions that could come out of the Land Use Plan Amendment. “Conserving public lands that are central to the economy, cultural history, and scenic backdrop of the California desert is important to the Mojave Desert Land Trust.” Haney said. “Our work to restore and protect these areas is not only critical to the plants and animals that call the desert home, but also to the people who live here and who travel to the desert for recreation.”

In 2009, Congress directed BLM to identify and add areas to the National Conservation Lands. These lands will provide access for outdoor recreation while being managed primarily for the conservation of the natural resources of the area. Including areas in the National Conservation Lands would keep industrial activity out of these special places.

The Conservation Lands Foundation has been working with partners in the California desert to identify the most important lands to be added to the National Conservation Lands and has called on the BLM to manage these areas to the same high conservation standard as National Conservation Lands throughout the state and country.

The mission of the Conservation Lands Foundation (CLF) is to protect, restore and expand the National Conservation Lands so they will endure from generation to generation. The National Conservation Lands are protected public lands and waterways managed by the Bureau of Land Management that have joined the ranks of our national parks and wildlife refuges as special places that preserve our natural, historical and scientific treasures. In California, the National Conservation Lands includes nearly five million acres including national monuments, national conservation areas, wilderness areas, wild and scenic rivers and national scenic and historic trails. www.conservationlands.org

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